The heat of July in Eastern Virginia–and many places in the U.S. and beyond–calls for something cold and crunchy filled with lots of colorful and nutritious hydrating moisture. So, recently, when I visited our farmer’s market, I snagged green tomatoes and the season’s first corn.
I fried one of the tomatoes as an accompaniment to my Vegan Tuna “Fish” Salad, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with the other. However, after going to yoga early in the morning and then heading to Home Depot to rent their ”Load and Go” truck in order to drive 40 bags of mulch home where I unloaded it by myself in triple digit temps (!), an idea started to form for a salsa appetizer. It turned out to be dinner, as the heat has really suppressed my appetite (but I made sure to drink a glass of soymilk, as I advocate for more protein in a meal than salsa provides).
While I had nice fresh cilantro, I was craving basil. So, I decided to nudge the salsa in a slightly Mediterranean direction with a little fresh basil from the garden, a dribble of olive oil, and a splash of balsamic vinegar instead of the more traditional lime juice. I loved the quick and easy result and hope you will too!
As an accompaniment, I enjoy whole wheat tortillas cut into 8 wedges each before frying in very shallow oil over medium-high heat for just a minute or two on each side, draining them on paper towels before digging in. Pita wedges would be really nice too with this Mediterranean iteration of salsa, as would toasted slices of your favorite Italian baguette. I also love it over pan-sauteed or grilled mini tofu or seitan squares, as in the photo.
However you enjoy it, be sure to stay cool and hydrated this and every summer!
- 2 ears fresh corn, husks and silks completely removed
- olive oil
- 1 medium-large green tomato, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 13 to 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, cored, seeded, and very finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 generous tablespoons minced basil
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat broiler.
- Rub the corn lightly with olive oil and place the pan on the top oven rack.
- Watching carefully–though this will take quite a few minutes–char the corn lightly, turning it one or two times. (I even shut the oven door, despite using the broiler, to reduce the cooking time.)
- Remove the corn from the oven, cool, and cut the kernels off the cob into a medium bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients, toss lightly to combine, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
- Serve with chips, pita wedges, as a bruschetta topping, or spooned over pan-sauteed or grilled mini tofu or seitan squares.
Note: in the summer since corn is so very sweet, you might want to add a little additional salt, balsamic vinegar, or even a little squirt of lemon juice to balance the flavors.