We’ve reached the point of the summer where I feel absolutely lavished by the season—its hot air and its sweeping, sun-singed blue skies and its meals taken outside and its swooping fireflies and its suddenly-full hydrangea bushes and its slow-paced strolls and its thwacking flip-flops and its long nights and its melting scoops of ice cream.
And then, as if this all weren’t enough, summer, as it stands now, has this: CORN. The corn is here! Man, I love corn. It’s very possibly my favorite piece of summer produce—eaten straight off the cob (conjuring, every single time, that fantastic scene in What About Bob, where Bob mmmmmmm‘s his way through Fay’s corn), shaved off the cob and eaten straight up, charred by the grill, toasted in a skillet, decadently drenched in cream. You could say that as Bubba is to shrimp, I am to corn. That’s quite a claim, I know—but I think it fits.
And, really, corn’s the only the thing that drew me into the kitchen this week, when work has been crazy (which means my time for cooking adventures is limited) and when Kevin has been out of town (which means my normal (and favorite) dining partner is out of the mix). I had a couple of ears, courtesy of Nichols Farm, in the bottom drawer of the fridge, rumbling around every time I opened the drawer, like a couple of fallen bowling pins. With each clattering drawer-opening, I wondered what fate the corn would meet.
I found out on Wednesday night, when I got home too late, exhausted and hungry. Without thinking much about it, I threw the dregs of a bag of farro into a deep skillet with some water. Meanwhile, I cubed a couple of gorgeous tomatoes into our big wooden salad bowl. Onto those I shaved the corn from the cobs, before tipping in a good amount of champagne vinegar, a few healthy grinds of pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. There was something un-green about the whole thing, so, at the last minute, I tossed in a couple of handfuls of baby arugula. When the farro had soaked up the water, becoming toothsome, I scraped it into the bowl, where its heat gently warmed the corn and wilted the arugula.
With a big bowl of the salad, I climbed the stairs to the roof, sank into my favorite deck chair and ate in the summer night—hot and still, quiet and glowy. And, lo, was it ever good—all of it. Summer, you spoil me.
Like I said, time was tight on Wednesday night, when I made this salad, so I don’t have any of the usual process photos. But I loved the dish and wanted to share it with you even without the typical bevy of photos. I threw in a few summer photos (from my Project 365 endeavor, which continues to chug along), for good measure. To counter-balance his absence from the actual eating of this post’s recipe, you’ll notice that most of these photos feature Kevin. It’s sappy, I know, but—hey—I like the guy.
Summer Farro Salad
Serves 1, generously (i.e., with leftovers)
As I said, I didn’t give this salad much thought when I was making it. So the recipe that follows is loose and absolutely suited to my tastes; you should adjust it to fit your own. In retrospect, I think I was drawing on this recipe, which I’ve made before, and this recipe, which caught my eye a while back, both of which were lodged somewhere in the subconscious, culinary corner of my brain.
olive oil, to taste
1/2 onion, diced finely
coarse salt, to taste
freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup farro
1 cup water
2 small, ripe tomatoes, chopped in large chunks
2 ears corn, husks removed and kernels shaved from the cob
2 handfuls baby arugula or other delicate green (alternatively, I bet a bunch of fresh herbs would be great)
a glug or so of champagne vinegar
Heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook for several minutes, until the onions have softened and are becoming translucent. Add the farro, stirring for a minute or so. Add the water, cover the pan, and cook at a very gentle simmer, until the water is absorbed and the farro is soft (about 30 minutes).
Meanwhile, add the chopped tomatoes, shaved corn kernels and arugula to a large bowl. Dress with vinegar and oil, using a bit more vinegar and oil than you would use for the tomatoes, corn and greens alone (so the farro can soak up the excess).
When the farro is cooked, scrape it into the bowl with the dressed tomato-corn mixture. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.