Currently, there is an abundance of fresh, local corn at the market. What better way to celebrate this bounty than with a recipe adapted from one of my favorite Chicago restaurants The Purple Pig. Jimmy Bannos Jr. is the chef/owner as well as the recipient of the James Beard Foundation 2014 Rising Star Chef of the Year Award. I enjoyed lunch at The Purple Pig twice in the last month. The extensive menu consisting of small plates of Mediteranean inspired cuisine is creative, delicious, and intended to be shared. Some of my favorite small plates include:
Pork Fried Almonds with Rosemary and Garlic | Raw Corn with Heirloom Tomatoes and Arugula Pesto | Charred Cauliflower, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Cornichons, and Parsley | Taramosalata | Eggplant Caponata with Goat Cheese | Octopus with Green Beans, Fingerling Potatoes, and Salsa Verde.
Summer Corn and Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salad with Arugula Pesto
(adapted from Raw Corn with Heirloom Tomatoes and Arugula Pesto by Jimmy Bannos Jr.)
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ¼ cups arugula, finely chopped
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 2 cups corn, cleaned and cut off the cob
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- kosher salt
- black pepper, freshly ground
To make the arugula pesto, combine the olive oil, arugula, parsley, and ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate bowl, combine corn, cherry tomatoes, 1 cup of the arugula pesto, ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese, and lemon juice and stir to mix. Taste the salad and add salt and pepper as needed. The additional arugula pesto can be used to garnish the salad or saved for another recipe.