Warm your hearts and your plates with Lerato’s Corn and Green Bean Salad
June in Nigeria comes with the rainy season, even though in most parts of the world it is the beginning of summer, when the days get longer, brighter and warmer. This is what June means to me; sunshine, summer! Apart from being my birthday month and that of my mother, growing up I looked forward to joyous June for the end of school and the beginning of the summer holiday. Late mornings, ice cream, holidays and all the nice things that came with school being closed. I lived for my summer holiday, when we would travel with family and friends. Upon our return, those few months would be re-lived time and time again, sufficiently filling my childhood happiness quota for the rest of the year.
These days I Iive for delightful food that the season blesses us with. Fresh greens, bright and beautiful fruits, glowing like jewels across the country. Avocado, corn, orange, mango and more, despite economic challenges and the uncomfortable price surge of foods and services in Nigeria, we cannot deny the fact that we are blessed with abundant food. If you open yourself to endless possibilities with food you will revel in all the inspiration that will come flooding.
As if trying to speak to me, a few weeks ago, as I drove past a farmer’s market in Lagos, I was enchanted by the enveloping aroma of boiled corn cooking away at a roadside food stall. This evoked feelings of warmth and happiness and I found myself fantasising about eating corn. The next day I cooked corn and made a delightful salad accompanying it with green beans, green peas, roasted garlic and butter for a friends birthday party. My sunny salad was enjoyed by all and my joy was to see the children excited and coming back for seconds and thirds!
This corn salad is refreshing, filling and rather indulgent. Pick out the best corn by picking the freshest. The older corn gets the more the starch develops and the sweetness reduces. Don’t be shy to ask before you buy. You can substitute the butter for olive oil, but I always say, everything tastes better with butter! Indeed, the land is green, so why not invite warmth into your hearts and onto your plates with glorious food that celebrates the best of the land and season.
Corn Salad with Green Beans,
Green Peas, Roasted Garlic & Butter
Cooking time: 1 hour Feeds: 4 – 8 hungry tummies
6 ears of corn / 200g drained canned sweet corn
300g / 2 cups of green beans
150g / 1 cup of green peas
1 vegetable stock cube
A large bowl of ice & water
57g / 1/4 cup / 4 tbs melted butter
4 cloves of garlic
5 leaves of wild basil / scent leave
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Let’s get cooking!
1. Fill a large pot of water but not to the brim, and place on the stove to boil. Place your corn into a large bowl or sink to shuck them. Shucking is undressing the corn from its husk. The best way to do this without leaving a lot of the golden brown silk on the cob is to tightly hold on to the tip of the corn and pull the husk back in one strong motion. Finish by breaking off the stems.
2. Clean any left over silk on the cob and rinse thoroughly before carefully placing into the pot of boiling water. Cover and allow to cook for 20 mins or until the corn softens.
3. In another small pot of boiling water, cook the green beans and peas for 4 minutes with cube of vegetable stock for added flavour. Once cooked, drain the water and pour the beans and peas into the bowl of ice and water. This will shock them to cool down in temperature. It is an important to stop the cooking process and to maintain the colour and texture of the vegetables which would otherwise turn dull green with a soggy and unappealing texture. After a minute, take them out of the ice water bath and set aside.
4. If you are using canned sweet corn, drain the liquid and boil the corn with water for 4 minutes. Once the corn on the cob is cooked, drain the hot water and place the cobs separated on a large tray to cool down. Melt the butter in a bowl by placing it in the microwave or carefully placing the bowl inside a pot of simmering water. Be careful by using a napkin or kitchen mittens to hold the hot bowl. Using the back of a wide knife smash the garlic onto a hard surface like your kitchen table.
This will dislodge the cloves from the outer layer making them easier to peel. Heat a small frying pan and once hot, add the garlic to dry roast for a few minutes until they turn starts to turn brown. Take it out of the pan and add with the scent leaves and a pinch of salt into a small mortar. Grind roughly, scoop and mix into the melted butter. Taste and add more salt if needed. This dressing can be made a day in advance because the longer the garlic and herb sit in the butter, the more intense and wonderful the dressing will be.
5. Once the corn is much cooler, one at a time, hold a cob upright with one hand and with the other use a knife to cut off the corn from the cob. Use pressure when cutting to make sure you get to the bed of the cob in order to get all the corn off.
6. In a large bowl, mix together, the corn, green peas, greens beans and roasted garlic butter dressing. Add a 1/4 tsp of salt, sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and mix thoroughly to ensure the dressing gets to every bit of the salad. To serve I washed the best of the husks placed on a tray and scooped the salad onto them. Make this for friends and family to impress them with something truly wonderful and different. Enjoy this on its own or with grilled meat, chicken, the choice is yours!
Make my recipe yours and share it with me on Instagram @lerato_tomato & twitter @leratotomato
Photo credit: Lerato Umah-Shaylor