With our farmers market full of fresh summer vegetables, bursting with flavor, give this delicious charred summer salad recipe of okra, tomatoes, corn and candied onions a try!
Growing up in Tennessee summer vegetables played a major part of our nightly dinners, especially okra, corn, tomatoes and onions. My parents always had a garden while I was growing up, and we had onions in the ground and tomatoes on the vine. I remember one summer they grew a whole bunch of corn as well. In this recipe I used beautiful okra and little tomatoes from Bloomsbury Farm, the corn was “Super Sweet” from Conry Farms in Morrison, TN and Candy Onions form Kirkview Farms. I picked the fresh basil from our herb garden.
Charred Summer Salad with Okra, Corn, Tomato & Candy Onion
This summer salad is the perfect base for grilled chicken or pork chops.
1 pint okra, split lengthwise
4 ears sweet summer corn, shucked and silks removed
1 pint little tomatoes like cherry or pear, split in half
2 Candy Onions, cut into quarters
2 tbls olive oil
1 tbl red wine vinegar (I also love Sherry vinegar!)
sea salt and fresh black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (fresh mint works well too)
Heat a 10 inch cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Season the split okra with a little salt and set aside to draw out moisture while you cook the corn. Break the ears of corn in half and place them in the hot iron skillet. Sear on all sides turning often until blistered, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside. Blot the okra with a paper towel to remove the water that has come to the surface. When dry add them to the skillet cut side down, and blister 3-4 minutes. Tun over and continue to roast for 1-2 minutes further. When dry roasted set aside (the okra should be quite dry and a bit crispy, even a little burnt). Place the Candy onions cut side down in the skillet and roast until almost black. Then turn to roast the other sides until almost black. When well blistered remove to a plate to cool. Place the split tomatoes and charred okra in a large shallow bowl. Add the olive oil red wine vinegar and little salt. Toss well together and set aside while you cut the corn and onions. Place a clean dish towel on a cutting board and put the charred cron on the dish towel. Using a sharp knife, trim the kernels off the corm. When all of the corn has been cut gather the corn in the towel and pour into the bowl with the okra and tomatoes. When the onions a cool enough to handle trim the root end off and then slice the onions crosswise into 1/8 inch slices. Add the cut onions to the bowl and then tear the basil leaves into small pieces and add to the vegetables. Toss everything together and add a little salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Keeps well for 24 hours.
Chef Michael R Martin
South Fork Catering Co.