I picked up my first basket of Honeycrisp apples and butternut squash from the market earlier this week. They were looking less plentiful than weeks before, but tomatoes and corn were definitely still present. Before they turn in to a farmer’s market endangered species, this salad is a worthy farewell to what has been a memorable summer. I’ve already made tomato sauce, tomato-corn salsa and frozen fresh corn for winter months. I’m now in the moments of just enjoying this summer produce in our daily meals.
This recipe is adapted from Sara Forte’s excellent Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon. Occasionally you find a cookbook author whose tastes and flavor preferences align so closely with your own, it’s like the recipes were written just for you. I love Sara’s work, and her husband Hugh takes beautiful photographs of her creations. I’m admittedly envious, as I’d love to have someone follow me around in the kitchen and capture images of it all. As it stands, I call everyone for dinner, then pause and turn off the lamps so we only have natural light. “Wait just a minute! I need a few photos!”
I’ve changed several ingredient amounts, swapped a couple of ingredients, added shallots to the dressing and taken a slightly different approach for roasting the tomatoes. I’ve made this multiple times this summer, and it’s a crowd pleaser – the buttermilk dressing and feta have it feeling slightly indulgent, but quinoa and veggies leave you feeling good. It’s excellent next to a piece of wild-caught fish.
Tomato-Corn-Kale Quinoa Salad + Shallot-Buttermilk Dressing
3/4 cup quinoa + 1 1/4 cup water
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cane sugar, optional
3 ears corn, blanched for 2 minutes and cut off cob
2 1/2 cups stemmed, finely chopped curly kale
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
S + P to taste
Rinse and drain quinoa. Put quinoa and water in pot, and bring to simmer. Cook for 12 – 15 minutes, until quinoa looks fluffy and water has been absorbed. This ratio will make for a slightly more al dente quinoa, which is perfect for this salad. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes. Then remove from pot and let cool in large bowl.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F. Halve the tomatoes and toss them with the olive oil, salt, pepper and optional sugar. Place cut side up on a sheet tray and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until starting to just char at edges. When you remove these from the pan, you can put right in the bowl with the quinoa. Make sure every last drop of oil goes in the salad – it adds excellent flavor!
After your tomatoes come out of the oven, add the nuts (pine nuts or slivered almonds are great here, but you could probably use almost any nut you had on hand). Toast in your 350 F oven for 3 – 5 minutes on a sheet pan, until golden and fragrant. Take care not to burn them. Add to bowl.
Peel the husk off and blanch corn by placing boiling water for 3 minutes, then removing. Cut from cob as soon as corn has cooled enough to handle, and add to bowl with quinoa.
Chop up fresh basil and stemmed kale and add to bowl.
Make your dressing by finely mincing the shallot and garlic, then adding to a small glass jar with a lid. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients (Dijon mustard, rice wine vinegar, EVOO, buttermilk, salt and pepper). Cover with lid and shake vigorously, until all ingredients are well mixed.
Pour about half of the dressing over your bowl, which should now contain the quinoa, roasted tomatoes, corn, kale, basil and toasted nuts, and stir. Add all of the feta and a little more dressing, then toss again. Taste, and add the rest of the dressing, or just more salt and pepper to suit your preferences. Invite your favorite people over to eat up every last bite, and reminisce about your favorite moments from this summer.