Is there anything that says "It's Summer!" more than corn or heirloom tomatoes? How about combining the two? Well this recipe does just that, taking a classic bruschetta - an Italian appetizer of a diced tomato salad served atop or alongside crunchy toasted bread slices - and upping the Summer factor by studding the tomato mixture with sweet and smoky grilled corn kernels. A bit of my Italian Countryside Spice Blend - a blend of porcini mushroom powder, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and onion - rounds it all out with a blast of umami that will have you wishing you had doubled the recipe. So get yourself to your local farmers market, and let's get cooking!
Grilled Corn and Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
Serves 4 as an appetizer
1 ear sweet corn
Extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes (3-4 large tomatoes)
1/4 medium red onion, finely minced (about 1/4 cup)
4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced
Large handful basil
1 tablespoon Italian Countryside Spice Blend
1-2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Crostini or grilled bread, for serving
Burrata cheese, for serving (optional)
Heat grill or cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Shuck corn and rub all over with a little bit of olive oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until you've got some nice char in parts. It's ok if some of the kernels don't get cooked. Sweet summer corn is delicious raw. Allow the corn to cool slightly and then cut the kernels from the cob and transfer kernels to a medium bowl.
Core tomatoes, cut them into large dice (I like pieces to be about 3/4-inch to 1-inch in size), and add them to the bowl with the corn, along with the minced red onion and garlic. Stack the basil leaves together, roll them tightly, and use a sharp knife to cut across the roll, creating thin strips. (This is called julienne, for future reference.) Add the julienned basil to the bowl.
Add the Italian Countryside Spice Blend, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Use a large spoon to gently mix everything together. Give the mixture a quick taste and add more vinegar if you like a bit more tang. Otherwise, go ahead and refrigerate mixture for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Give the bruschetta another gentle mixing with your spoon and serve with crostini or grilled bread and some burrata if you're so inclined.
Suggested wine pairing: Something chilled and summery, like a fruity rose or a crisp Vermentino. This one from Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles is one of my favorites.