Vegtabularity

Sunday was a rather vegtabular day.

Saturday’s market visit was both harried and hurried, since we started out late and I had to get to work on time, and Teacherman and I operated on the “that looks neat–let’s buy it!” level.  Saturday evening we spent at a concert in the park, so it wasn’t until Sunday morning that I began contemplating what to do with the vegetables.

Sunday was also Teacherman’s last day in town before a two-week trip to Pennsylvania, so I wanted to make the meals special, or least nice.   After discounting the items I’d be using to make my lunches and dinners for the coming week, I was left with two pounds of heirloom tomatoes–one each of four different varieties (a “pink accordian,” something equally ruffly, but smaller and purple; a “red zebra,” and a long, green-and-red striped “torpedo” that was pink on the inside)–and six ears of just-picked corn.  I designated the tomatoes for lunch and the corn for dinner, and set to work.

Actually, I set to work at doing next to nothing.  Both the corn and the tomatoes were so fresh and so delicious that I barely needed to do anything to them.  I simply made a sauce for each one, a matter of five minutes in total, and let the inherent flavors speak for themselves. 

Both sauces came from recipes I’d torn out of Cooking Light and Bon Appetit.  I only keep whole issues for one year, after which I tear out any recipes I’ve made and liked, or still want to try, and toss the bulk of the magazine.  The torn-out recipes go into an increasingly bedraggled folder, where they end up mixed and filed and smashed together until I have no idea which issue the recipe was originally from.   

For the tomates, I mixed Dijon mustard, fresh chopped dill, lemon juice and zest, and a tiny bit of salt and pepper.  I was a little worried that the sharp flavors of the mustard and lemon would overwhelm the tomatoes, but after swiping a bit of sauce over a sawed-off tomato end, I was unsure no more.  I gleefully sliced and dumped in the entire two pounds-worth and stirred it up.  After a scant 15 minutes of marinating time, the melded flavors worked together even better than before.  We ate the salad with greedily, dipping what amounted to our “side dish” of smoked turkey into the juices. 

The corn was an equally delicious, though more unusual story.  I was making a Thai-ish stir-fry for dinner, so I could have cut all the corn off the cobs and added it in, but I was feeling too lazy to deal with all of that slicing.  I had to turn the grill on for another reason (grilling up my lunches for the week) so I decided to grill the corn–a pretty standard application.  What wasn’t so standard was the idea from Bon Appetit.  After the corn comes off the grill, one brushes it with a mixture of butter, scallions, sweetener, and Thai fish sauce.  I was a little dubious, but I love fish sauce in other Thai recipes, so I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt.  If the first ear turned out to taste terrible, I didn’t have to put the resulting concoction on the rest of the corn at all. 

I dipped a finger into the butter mixture.  Yowza!  My eyes nearly bugged out from the saltiness, but the flavor combination was compelling, and I could see how the sweetness of the corn would fit into the pungent salty-sweet Thai thing.  I threw caution to the winds and drizzled the mixture over all six of the ears of corn. 

Now it was Teacherman’s turn to be dubious.  Teacherman LOVES corn, and likes it best with nothing on it–not butter, not salt, nothing; sometimes he even eats it raw.  (I think this is good, too, but I’m more willing to branch out).  After a few cursory bites of stir-fry, we jumped on the corn.  It. Was. Amazing.  The two of us, along with a visiting friend, polished off all six big ears and could have eaten as much again, if it had been available.  As much as I like to salt my corn on the cob, I never would have thought of brushing fish sauce–the Thai answer to salt–onto an ear. 

I hardly think that I’ve muted Teacherman’s love for unadorned ears of corn, but this recipe may become a new favorite.  Corn season is just beginning; luckily, we have a full bottle of fish sauce.

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Published in: on August 1, 2007 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

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