Corn and tomato salad, fast slow food


If you’ve been a long time fan of Manresa, you know that corn and tomato salad is one of David’s enduring classics at the restaurant.  So classic that it predates Manresa and traces its roots back to his previous restaurant, Sent Sovi.  So classic that each variation is notated with a version number, say, Corn and Tomato Salad, 4.2–a playful wink, really, at the location of the restaurant right smack in the middle of Silicon Valley.

When he cooks for me at our home, it’s definitely not the food he serves at the restaurant, but it is no less profound.  We both love food that is perfect in its simplicity, like the perfect pairing of corn and tomato in this simple version we do in our kitchen.  Take sublime tomatoes–these are dry-farmed tomatoes from our friend Joe of Dirty Girl–and match them with sweet, sweet corn–passed ever so briefly in a simmering pot of water, just to tame the raw edge yet retain the fresh flavor.  Dress them with a simple vinaigrette, white wine vinegar, mustard, a smidgen of raw honey, perfectly fragrant, smooth, late harvest olive oil, and a happy sprinkle of sea salt.  Perhaps a handful of herbs, basil, hyssop, lemon balm, tarragon, or even some anise-y fennel fonds.  That’s about it.  Make sure you have a big hunk of crusty bread around to sop up the perfectly delicious juices at the bottom of the bowl.  Better yet, pick up the bowl and drink from it.  Your kisses will be even more delicious after that.

This is fast slow food, requiring hardly any time in the preparation, but based on long, slow traditions of making great food and a biding respect for the land.  It’s made quickly, yet best enjoyed ever so slowly, with a few glasses of good wine, on a balmy summer evening, in the company of the one you love.

Meanwhile, if you need a little help in appreciating the art of slow food, mark your calendar for this coming Labor Day weekend in San Francisco, where Slow Food Nation will be throwing down a serious fête, reveling in the art and beauty of food, very slowly.

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25 Responses to “Corn and tomato salad, fast slow food

  • casey said:
    August 21st, 2008 at 8:46pm

    Davis once prepared a wonderful surprise birthday dinner for me and two dozen friends in the wine room at Sent Sovi–a parade of marvelous dishes–but to this day my friends and family still talk about the corn and tomato salad–one of the very early versions. Twas sublime.

  • Robert R said:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 5:48am

    By January many of us in the northeast will be dreaming of warmer days at the beach. Not myself, as I’ll be pulling up this post gazing at the photo while in hibernation mode.
    Thanks Pim. I’ll be making this tonight while I still can.

  • Louise said:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 7:46am

    This is a perfect example of that California mantra: start with the best ingredients and don’t mess them up.

  • Jade said:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 12:05pm

    What a poignant post, I can taste the food and feel the love you share. Like Robert R, I too will return to taste it again when winter comes.

  • PeterS said:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 1:06pm

    Thanks for this. I’ll get some dirtygirl tomatoes tomorrow at ther ferry plaza.

  • Hillary said:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 2:05pm

    Whoa! Didn’t know corn and tomatoes could look so beautiful together!

  • lizziee said:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 2:53pm

    What time is dinner?

  • Maya said:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 6:07pm

    simple and perfect.

  • Books for Foodies said:
    August 23rd, 2008 at 9:02pm

    “fast slow food” – I love that phrase!

  • Karin said:
    August 24th, 2008 at 5:34pm

    Can I suggest an amazing rose I just had? Francois Cotat, a rose from Sancerre: The mention of the honey and corn together, with the red of the tomato and the blush of the wine… mmm.

  • Jetset said:
    August 26th, 2008 at 11:05am

    I love this recipe. I’m so glad you posted it as I’ve been hankering for a fresh corn/tomato something recipe for the past 3 days… and then this!
    I made mine with mint/tomato/corn and your recommended vinagrette. Perfection!

  • Ruth said:
    August 27th, 2008 at 12:11am

    I think this will be just perfect for this weekend given the great tomatoes and corn in the farmer’s market. Alder is in the midst of 3 straight weeks of business travel so this will be a nice change from quick meals on the run. And, very doable for a mama short on time.

  • Michael said:
    August 27th, 2008 at 12:51pm

    just found you on technorati, great blog!

  • lee said:
    August 28th, 2008 at 6:02am

    I just had this last night not even remembering that I saw it here. Mine had fried cippolini onions, a speckled roman tomato, corn, a hot italian pepper, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon thyme. Oh, and I ate it with oven roasted eggplant slices. So good! Thanks for the nudge.

  • Lesley said:
    August 31st, 2008 at 10:49am

    Perfection in a dish!

  • Aaron said:
    September 2nd, 2008 at 7:36pm

    Those dirty girl tomatoes are indeed delicious. I ate the ones you gave me as you would an apple. A juicy bite o summer.
    I had a corn themed dinner tonight:
    Blackened Skirt Steak with Grilled Corn and Red Cabbage Slaw
    Smoked Paprika, Cayenne, Black Pepper, Yellow Corn, Red Cabbage, Yogurt, Agave,
    Shredded Carrots, Grapeseed Oil
    Egg Pappardelle with a Habanero Garlic Corn Veloute
    Corn, Chicken Stock, Corn Stock, Garlic, Habaneros
    Buttermilk Cornbread
    Corn and tomatoes are just perfect in late summer.

  • Melanie Hurt said:
    September 2nd, 2008 at 9:14pm

    Hey, I made this salad tonight and it was wonderful. The juices were great sopped up in bread. I served it alongside roast chicken—delicious. Thanks!

  • swirlingnotions said:
    September 3rd, 2008 at 3:41pm

    What did you think of Slow Food Nation?

  • smileworld said:
    September 4th, 2008 at 10:29am

    Just love the great pictures. You should get some of them printed on big posters!

  • Amrita said:
    September 6th, 2008 at 7:13am

    Yummm! Corn and tomato salad is a must-have during the monsoons here….and I just have to squeeze and extra amount of lemon juice on top; everytime!

  • Kim Moss said:
    September 10th, 2008 at 9:23am

    This sound so good I love tomatoes and corn I’m going to try this Thanks Kim

  • Tea said:
    September 15th, 2008 at 3:06pm

    The corn is still holding out here in Seattle, and I’ve been buying it each weekend. I like it tossed with snappy green beans and tomatoes–not as good as Joe’s, but how could they be? (I’ll be stocking up when I’m down later this month).
    Some days it’s so perfect I don’t bother with dressing: late summer in a bowl.

  • MattA said:
    September 16th, 2008 at 10:51am

    WOW that looks good. I am making that tonight. Great post.

  • Maggie said:
    September 20th, 2008 at 7:43pm

    It such a beautifully simple combination I can’t believe I haven’t had it before. It’s on the menu for tomorrow now. Thanks!

  • ahlek ng said:
    August 9th, 2009 at 10:10pm

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