“It’s the sweetest corn you’ll ever have.” She says, locking eyes with me.
I study the yellow and white teeth of the corn at the Brentwood Farmer’s Market stand. It does look good – like the corn my family used to get in Sioux Falls, South Dakota when we were visiting my grandma as kids.
But corn isn’t in my menu plan for the week. I have a tofu stir-fry planned, my stand-by Chicken Marsala, and I already know there will be a few quinoa dinners lobbed in mid-week as well.
Even so, I can’t resist it. I have to have the “sweetest corn [I’ll] ever have.” Even if it’s not the sweetest corn I’ve ever had or will have. And even if I do have to eat it for dessert or breakfast so it doesn’t perish in the bottom of my vegetable crisper like the dried out broccoli that met the garbage bin that morning.
I am similarly unable to resist the mango nectarines and the crunchy Persian cucumbers. They sing to me from their stands – begging me to purchase them on a whim like the dresses I can’t help myself from buying every time I walk into an Anthropologie. Ten minutes into my farmer’s market adventure, my grocery tote is full of produce and threatening to disrupt my balance. It’s a clear sign that I need to leave. Immediately.
On the drive back to West Hollywood, I think about just eating the ear of corn and nectarine for lunch along with some other nibbles. But what I really want is a big salad of everything mixed together – a summer farmer’s market salad. A salad that tastes so fresh one could almost imagine it had been picked straight off a tree rather than assembled by a man or neurotic woman.
I boil my corn until is bursts with yellow color, dice my ripe nectarine into sweet fleshy chunks, slice the cucumber, cook some shelled edamame, and whip up a light lime-honey vinaigrette. Quinoa and green onions will inevitably fall in my salad bowl as well, and the whole thing will ultimately be topped off with a soft goat cheese I’d spontaneously purchased at Whole Foods the previous day.
When I finally dive my fork into the heap of fresh ingredients, I can’t help but think that the salad was meant to be. The varying flavors and textures explode in my mouth. It only takes one bite to know that this will be my new summer salad obsession. I’ll make it again. And again. And again, until the corn isn’t sweet any more, and the nectarines are upwards of $5.99 a pound. Or until I find a new salad to obsess over. And a new ingredient I just have to have at the farmer's market.
Corn, Nectarine, Cucumber and Edamame Quinoa Salad
1 ear of yellow corn, boiled and cut off the husk
½ cup shelled edamame
1 small Persian cucumber, sliced and cut in halves
2 green onions, sliced into thin slivers
1 ripe nectarine, chopped
¼ cup quinoa prepared according to package instructions
1 ounce goat cheese
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
Salt, pepper to taste
Combine salad ingredients (aside from goat cheese) in large bowl. Toss with dressing to taste. Serve immediately and top with crumbled goat cheese.