Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer corn & tomato salad with avocado, zucchini & mozzarella

Before I get to anything, I need to take a moment to discuss Glee... you know, that incredibly addicting TV comedy about a high school's glee club.  Love love love it.  Anyway, I'm not going to give anything away from last night's episode, but uh, is anyone else a little shocked at the dance moves that pregnant cheerleader Quinn Fabray is performing?  Yes, only the show's character is with child, not the actress, but shouldn't she be 8 1/2 months pregnant at this point?  And maybe the show's creators are ignoring that fact for dance numbers.  But, geez, at a few points during last night's final number, I fully expected to see the birth of her child right then and there.  Does this slightly annoy/concern anyone else?  That being said, I freakin' love that show :) Favorite song of the night -- Puck and Finn's number in the Sheets 'n Things store.  LOVE.

It's somewhat fitting that an uber colorful show should be the introduction to this rainbow of a summer salad.  While in Reading this past weekend, Matt's mom gave me the reigns to make something for part of Sunday's dinner.  Burgers were to be the entree, so I wanted something packed with vegetables and color and flavor.  After flipping through a stack of about 20 (really) food magazines, I found a recipe for avocado, corn and tomato salad.  This only took about a half hour, to which Matt's mom said, "Oh Katy, I didn't realize what I'd be doing when I asked you to think of something to make."  Yes, I take a challenge like that very seriously!

I changed a few of the ingredients to better suit my mood.  First, although some people love cilantro, you'll never find me singing its praises.  I can handle a little, but this called for 1 1/2 cups of the stuff and pureed at that.  Not for me, so I omitted it, and no one was the wiser.  Also, we had 3 cooked ears of corn remaining from the previous night -- bonus!  I also swapped out one ear of corn for one green zucchini for more color.  The resulting salad was light and a bit sweet with an array of textures: zucchini with a crunch, the pop of the juicy grape tomatoes, and the smooth mozzarella cheese.  Feel free to add a little garlic powder if you want a little kick to this salad.

Final notes: someone said, "What, are we feeding 12 people?" when he saw this huge bowl of salad.  Let's just say that 5 people cleared out about 3/4 of the bowl with no problems at all.  And, when I started photographing the prep and assembly of this salad, unaware that the parents hadn't seen me in food writer form, I got a few pats on the head and chuckles with "I love you, Katy."  Ahh yes, here I am, the food nerd.

A-Z Summer Salad
(adapted from Aida Mollencamp's recipe in Food Network magazine)
-feeds 8-10

2 avocados, diced
3 ears cooked corn, kernels removed (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
Zest from one lime + 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from said 1 lime)
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together lime zest and juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Add avocado and toss with mixture to coat evenly (the acidity in the lime juice will keep the avocados from browning).  Add remaining vegetables and cheese, and toss to mix up ingredients.  Cover and let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving or refrigerate up to 4 hours.  Before serving, check for seasoning (salt and pepper).  Enjoy!

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