Fall is right around the corner, which means it’s time to make the most of those luscious summer fruits and vegetables. At my house, that means fresh sweet corn and lots of it. We eat the classic version of corn on the cob often—drop whole ears of corn into simmering water just long enough to make it a little more tender and then season with sea salt and a little fresh butter. We love to grill corn, too, giving it a nice caramelized char. When we’re not preparing it using one of these simple and quick methods, we love to eat it fresh and raw in a nice summer salad.
Maybe you’ve traditionally thought of corn as a plain vegetable without a lot of nutrient content. We know it’s not on the same level as something like kale, but don’t write off corn so soon! Sweet corn is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that promote healthy vision. Additionally, corn is rich in antioxidant phytonutrients. Yellow corn in particular is high in carotenoids. Corn is also a fiber rich food, and a midsize ear also offers a 3-gram dose of dietary fiber. A cup of corn contains about 5-6 grams of protein, too. Fiber and protein help even out the pace of digestion and prevent your body from having sudden spikes and drops in blood sugar. Finally, corn is rich in B vitamins and manganese. So go ahead and indulge in as much sweet summer corn as you can before the season is over—it’s good for you!
Fresh corn salad is often prepared with basil, another summer treat, but I love a variation by one of my favorite food writers Mark Bitman because it features mint as the herb of choice. This salad is quick and easy to prepare, and it is the epitome of fresh.
Sweet Corn Salad with Mint and Feta
- 2 to 3 cups raw sweet corn kernels (from 4 to 6 ears)
- 1 large or 2 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into fairly small pieces
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add the corn, tomatoes and cheese to a bowl. Be sure to add the tomato juice that gathers on the cutting board when you dice the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently. Add the mint leaves and toss again. Season with salt and pepper.