How can anyone resist fresh white corn at this time of year?
Once again, my friend Laura had an overabundance of corn from her farm share. Being the martyr that I am, I grudgingly took it off her hands - you know, just to help a friend in need... Seriously? I could not contain my excitement!
When I got home that evening, I took stock of the ingredients I had on hand. The corn. An avocado. Some flash-frozen Brazilian shrimp from Trader Joe's. A head of butter lettuce. Some leftover saffron mayonnaise. Basil and chives in the garden. Hmmmmm.... With the temperature approaching 110°F (almost 44°C), a chilled salad seemed just perfect.
I got busy shucking the corn, then cooked it the way my mother did - by adding a small handful of granulated sugar to the boiling water. Four minutes is just perfect. While letting it cool, I peeled and deveined the shrimp (reserving the shells for stock), then sautéed the little bugs in some olive oil. I simply tossed the rest of the ingredients together and served it on a bed of butter lettuce.
It was delicious, light and such a perfect vehicle to show off the sweet corn and shrimp with the creamy texture of the avocado.
For dessert, I tried a new sorbet inspired by a recipe in one of my Thai cookbooks, using half a watermelon I got at the farmers market, some kaffir lime leaves from our tree, and some freshly squeezed lime juice. Again, simple ingredients that come together for a refreshing treat.
Stay cool in your kitchens!
Corn, Shrimp and Avocado Salad
4 ears white (or yellow) corn, shucked
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 Haas avocado
12 large basil leaves, cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
2 tablespoons chopped chives
4 tablespoons saffron mayonnaise (click here for recipe)butter lettuce leaves, for serving
additional basil leaves, for serving
Bring a large kettle of water to a boil and, once boiling, add a tablespoon sugar to the pot and then add corn. Return to a boil and cook 4 minutes; drain in a colander and let cool.
In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add shrimp. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until shrimps are done and perfectly pink - about 3-4 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp.
Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Score the flesh both of both halves vertically and horizontally, then remove with a large soup spoon.
Remove the kernels from the corn cobs using a sharp knife - slicing them off into a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked shrimp and avocado cubes to the bowl, along with the basil and chives. Add the mayonnaise and toss together gently; adjust seasoning. Chill salad.
Place butter lettuce leaves on plates and add a scoop of salad to each plate, garnish with basil leaves.
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces
1 pound watermelon flesh, cut into chunks
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon vodka, optional
sprigs of mint, for garnish
Mix water, sugar and lime leaves in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once sugar has dissolved, remove from heat cover and let steep for 1 hour.
Place watermelon chunks in a food processor and process a few seconds until slushy. Spoon melon into a mixing bowl and add lime juice. Strain kaffir lime syrup into the bowl and mix well. Chill for 1 hour.
Stir in vodka, if using, and place melon mixture in ice cream maker and process for about 20 minutes. Scoop sorbet into a container and freeze. Let sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften before scooping into bowls. Garnish with mint sprigs.