Corn salad bursting with summer freshness.
We were raised in an apartment building comprised of 10 apartments, in a neighbourhood that was filled, for blocks and blocks, with buildings similar to ours. Our parents purchased this building with our aunt and uncle, shortly after arriving in Canada. It may not have been the most picturesque area to grow up in; there were no white picket fences and carefully manicured lawns, but it was magical. Our neighbourhood was bustling, with adults tending to their balcony plants, heading off to work, or walking to the corner fruit shop. And children were everywhere. Almost as soon as the sun came up you would find some kid outside, kicking around a pebble, waiting to be joined by the rest of us, knowing full well that she soon would be.
Our building shared a large driveway with the building next door, and the two back yards were adjacent to one another, separated only superficially by a short chain link fence. As kids we had no problem jumping this fence, all day moving from one yard to the next, depending upon our activity of the moment. Our backyard was primarily concrete, with a large reserved area for our parents’ garden. This was the perfect venue for creating chalk outlined games of hopscotch and champ. Our neighbour’s backyard was primarily grass, and the ideal place to play a game of soccer, badminton, or to just lay on our backs gazing at the clouds, contemplating what adventure we would move on to next.
We were raised in a true community; as children we were never afraid or reluctant to ask some other parent for a glass of milk, help tying our shoes or some advice on the best hiding spot on the block. We all knew each other, and we realize now that all of the parents were similar to our own; first generation immigrants, primarily from Greece, working hard and often crazy hours to raise families in a new country. Everyone needed all the help they could get, and they got it.
Some of our favourite summertime activities were impromptu barbecues and corn roasts. Often, if someone made a trip to the market and corn was fresh and on sale, they would purchase a huge bag; there were probably 50 – 60 ears of corn in those sacks. The children would then sit in a circle in the backyard, and start shucking. We would race one another, to see who could shuck the fastest. We would compare our cleaned corn to see whose shucking was the cleanest. And we would call dibs on what we felt must be the perfect corn on the cob, racing to the adult in charge of cooking, waving the corn in the air, claiming it for our own. Looking back, we can pretty much guarantee that those special, called-for cobs of corn were simply tossed in with the rest. Who could really tell, and who would care, when you had juicy corn niblets bursting in your mouth and butter dripping down your chin? Life was good.
Today, whenever there is corn to prepare for cooking, like for this salad, it is an activity that we tend to enjoy doing alone. For a few minutes we sit, and shuck, and remember.
Although you can use frozen corn to make this salad, you really should opt for fresh corn on the cob if you can get your hands on it. The flavor of fresh corn, especially during the summer months, is simply delicious. Although you can make the salad by simply boiling your fresh corn, grilling it for a few minutes afterwards really brings out a nice, smoky flavor. We highly recommend this extra, but easy, step.
You can choose to peel your cucumber if you like, or leave the skin on. When our cucumbers come from the garden we always leave them unpeeled. We love the added flavor, nutrition and fiber that this provides. 🙂
It is not always easy to find pitted Kalamata olives, so you’ll have to do the pitting yourself. The easiest way to remove the pit is to either use a paring knife to cut the pit our, or use the flat end of a large chef’s knife to flatten your olive a little bit. This will cause the slit which is almost always present in your Kalamata olives to open a little bit more, making it easier to remove the pit.
Mia Kouppa: Grilled corn, cucumber and feta salad
- 1 1/2 cups corn niblets (using either grilled corn on the cob or frozen corn niblets)
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1/3 cup crumbled Greek Feta
- 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If you are using fresh corn on the cob, remove the husk and then boil your corn for 10 minutes. Grill your boiled corn just long enough so that it gets some nice char marks. Once your corn on the cob is cool enough to handle, remove the corn niblets using a sharp knife. To do this, stand your corn on the cob upright and cut as close to the cob as you can, moving your knife straight down from top to bottom. Move around your whole corn until the cob is free of all niblets.
- If you are using frozen corn, prepare it according to the directions and set aside to cool.
- In a medium sized bowl add the cooled corn niblets, cucumber, green onions, feta, olives, and the fresh herbs. Mix gently to combine the ingredients.
- Prepare your dressing by whisking the lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil together in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over your salad and mix well to coat your ingredients.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Best served soon after it’s made. Enjoy!