Keep those flip-flops by the back door, boys and girls. We still have ten days of summer left.
When you have a few odds and ends left in the fridge—you know—those green beans you didn’t use, a few odd cherry tomatoes, and some leftover corn, make this salad. It’s filling and frugal at the same time. I love the walnut-size potatoes that abound in markets right now, but you could also use larger ones; just cut them into bite-size pieces after you cook them. Toss everything together with a creamy basil dressing and you have a potato salad with a college education. Creamy, crunchy, sweet, and satisfying—you can have it all and feel smug about cleaning out the refrigerator in the bargain.
This is really an anything goes (within reason) salad. I often cook more vegetables than I need, so I can put together something interesting with leftovers. The amounts here are merely guidelines.
Quick, before the frost, enjoy basil in as many dishes as possible. You will be happy with this creamy, herby dressing that pairs well with crunchy beans and softer potatoes. Cook the beans just until done—they can still be a little crunchy, but not squeaky. And though I usually start potatoes in cold water, I found that cooking them in the pot after the beans was both more convenient and without mishap.
End of summer salad with creamy basil dressing
1 pound mini potatoes (the size of walnuts, or even smaller)
1/2 pound green beans, wax beans, or your choice of beans, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
Kernels from 2 to 3 ears cooked corn
1/2 pint multi-colored cherry tomatoes, halved
Creamy basil dressing (see recipe below)
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until barely tender. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and spread on a tray or baking sheet to cool. Add the potatoes to the boiling water, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain and spread on the baking sheet to cool. (Now you could cook some corn in the water, too, if you don’t have any leftover.)
2. Combine the beans, potatoes, corn kernels in a bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add dressing to taste (you will have some left over.)
Creamy basil dressing
Makes 1 cup
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1. Combine basil, parsley mayonnaise, yogurt, salt, pepper, and honey in a blender jar. Purée until smooth. (If using Greek yogurt, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water.) Open the feed tube and gradually add the oil while the motor is running. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you like.
And now ladies and gentlemen, for the stupendous, astounding, revolutionary, mind-blowing really neat corn trick (thank you Jeannie Klainer!) you have been waiting for.
Does your corn fly from here to kingdom come when you try to remove it from the cob?
Do you sometimes wish you had a dog when you are cutting corn from the cob?
If you have a dog, does she turn up her nose at or just flatly ignore the tiny kernels in every corner of your kitchen?
If the answer is yes, then you are ready for the absolutely free and revolutionary (I know, I already said that, but it’s exciting) corn trick. Pull out the Bundt pan you have in the basement (or borrow one, as I did). Steady the base of the cob on top of the hole in the center, and slide your knife under the kernels from top to bottom. Voila! The corn neatly falls into the pan.
I have to go now. I am going to cut more corn and freeze it for the winter….
p.s. Today commemorates the day our world changed (was it only eleven years ago?) I needed some levity, but my thoughts are with all those who lost a loved one.