Cauliflower Corn Tomato Salad

july 17, 2019

overhead of cauliflower corn tomato salad

When in the thick of summer, take advantage of local summer produce, and generate as little heat as possible. That’s a good couple of loose rules to follow when you want something bright, crunchy and easy for serving at home or taking to a dinner gathering.

This salad is all that and more—it can be the base for grilled proteins like steak, chicken or tofu. Ease of preparation is the major selling point, with a fresh dill vinaigrette dressing made by tossing all the crunchies with all the dressing components. Fewer bowls to clean. If  you really want to limit your dishwashing, toss everything in the same glass container you use to steam the fresh corn in the microwave.

Corn and tomatoes go together like ice cream and hot fudge sauce. Cauliflower is the new kid on the block, showing up everywhere as roasted, riced and raw. That’s no complaint on my part, since we all could use more cruciferous vegetables on our plates.

ingredients of cauliflower corn tomato salad

This salad is pretty for a picnic or neighborhood gathering and can be made ahead up to the point of adding baby tomatoes. Testing this recipe, I waited to enjoy that last serving several days after tossing everything and although the tomatoes were firm and flavorful, you’ll be getting the best quality and texture by adding those on the day of serving.

add tomatoes right before serving for best quality and texture

Here’s how you can modify the recipe to suit your taste. If white balsamic vinegar is too sweet, use pure organic apple cider vinegar instead. If you’re not a fan of fresh dill, any leafy herb like basil or cilantro can be substituted. With vinegar, sometimes the flavor fades even over a few hours, so after tossing all together, taste again and add another splash before serving if you like. Regular balsamic vinegar is fine for flavor, but muddiness will mask the pretty colors of the veggies. I’m a big fan of the tenderness of white sweet corn but if all you have available is yellow, feel free to use this.

closeup of cauliflower corn tomato salad

The inspiration for this salad came from an adventurous vegetarian client who asked for a corn salad with crunchy things; for her family, I used diced sweet peppers instead of tomato for better storage. One of the best things about creating good food is the freeform improvisation that occurs with more and more confidence as you see the fruits of your labor enjoyed by others. Happy summer, chefs.

Cauliflower Corn Tomato Salad

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes six to eight servings 

ingredients

3 large ears white sweet corn, kernels removed with sharp knife
½ head cauliflower, chopped
¼ cup finely sliced red onion or shallot
one pack of fresh dill (about 2 tablespoons chopped)
¼ cup canola or other neutral oil
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar *
generous ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
two pinches finely ground white pepper
one pint baby tomatoes, cut halves
* use pure organic cider vinegar if white balsamic too sweet for your taste

directions 

  1. Spread out corn kernels (fluffing to separate) in shallow glass dish; cover loosely with kitchen towel and microwave on high 2 ½ minutes; keep covered another 5 minutes, then place into nonreactive bowl (may also mix salad in this glass dish).
  2. Pour oil and vinegar over corn with salt and pepper, combine and then cool to room temperature.
  3. When cool, add cauliflower, red onion and chopped dill; adjust seasoning and chill at least two hours to develop flavor.
  4. May be made ahead 2-3 days at this point; just before serving, add cut tomatoes and adjust seasoning if needed (dash of vinegar, pinch of salt).
  5. Makes a great base for grilled proteins or crumbled cheeses.
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