Inspired by fresh Italian summer foods, this charred corn and tomato salad is topped with fresh basil, olive oil and burrata. It’s a delight to enjoy on a hot evening with fresh summer tomatoes.
I think the best part of traveling to Italy, besides watching our two friends get married, was the food. Of course, I’m not the first person to write about the experience of eating in Italy and I certainly won’t be the last. But there’s a reason so many people leave with the impression that they experienced something special and worth sharing. Simple ingredients, at their peak, are expertly prepared to make them shine, rather than obscuring them under heavy sauces, novel assembly, or complicated technique.
This recipe is an attempt to recreate that feeling we had in Italy whenever we ate something fresh, bright, delicious, and simple. It’s hardly a recipe but more of a suggested assembly of late summer produce. Burrata with it’s cool, creamy interior covered in peppery, sharp extra virgin olive oil and crunchy breadcrumbs on top of a medley of summer vegetables and fruit. Earthy tomatoes at their final peak as summer lets out it’s final gasp. Corn so sweet you can’t believe it, the sweetness heightened by a quick turn on the grill. Sweet basil picked off my front stoop cut into thin ribbons, serving as a green garnish and herbaceous finish. Ingredients at their finest remind us that the season is fleeting. It’ll be back, but memories of juicy tomatoes will seem far off in the darkness of winter.
We’ve had quite a frenzied year traveling, attending four weddings, and the like. There’s a sense of change hanging in the air that coincides with the transition of the seasons. I look back on the busy-ness with a feeling of appreciation for all the things I’ve gained – the tastes, the places, and the people I’ve met. But I also feel a sense of relief for the winding down of my schedule and an impatience to move on to the next phase. Though once it has all passed I’ll feel that nostalgia one always feels when memories are made and time has rendered them faint.
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- 2 ears of sweet corn shucked
- 1 large ball of burrata or 2 - 4 oz balls of burrata
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup of crusty bread cut into cubes
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil divided
- freshly ground pepper
- Process the bread cubes in a food processor until it is transformed into coarse crumbs. Heat a tablespoon and a half of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Toast the crumbs until golden brown, stirring frequently. Let drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Turn on a grill to high heat or your broiler. Lightly coat or spray corn and put on grill or under the broiler until lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes. Turn several times to ensure even color. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes into 1-inch cubes and layer on a large serving plate. Cut corn kernels off the cob and layer on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle vegetables with salt.
- Set burrata on top of the corn and tomato, and drizzle rest of the oil on top of the cheese. Sprinkle cheese and vegetables evenly with toasted breadcrumbs.
- Stack basil leaves and roll tightly into a long cylinder. Slice into thin strips (chiffonade) and garnish the top of the burrata with the basil.
- Sprinkle freshly ground pepper over the salad.