Something Different
Week of: August 8, 2011
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Corn and Tomatoes Are Summer's Perfect Pair

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

Ignore home-gardeners boasting about the plate-size tomatoes on their vines and running ears of corn straight from the stalk to the pot. These days, besides selecting these summer stars at roadside stands and farmers' markets, you often can buy corn and tomatoes at your supermarket grown in the same state where you live. Local produce can provide pleasure equal to homegrown if vegetable gardening is not an option for you.

Corn's sweetness and crunch are irresistible. Tomatoes are unique for their luscious combination of tart-sweet flavor and meaty flesh that melts into liquid. Purists enjoy them seasoned with only salt and pepper. However, fat helps our bodies utilize the abundance of carotenoids in tomatoes and corn, so a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on tomatoes and a light brushing of butter on corn is both delicious and smart. I also like to shower them with fresh herbs, for flavor and health benefits, as well. Try a mixture of basil and spearmint on tomatoes and cilantro on corn.

Since corn and tomatoes go well together, this colorful, chunky salad, which pairs them and adds sweet peppers, is late summer perfected on a plate. I recommend making it often, ideally between July and October. (When using out-of-season corn and tomatoes, it looks good but does not have nearly the sun-ripe flavor it delivers now.)

To complete an ideal meal, add protein by passing a platter of sliced mozzarella or a bowl of the bite-size mozzarella balls called bocconcini along with your salad.

Corn Salad

Summer Tomato and Corn Salad with Basil

  • 1 large ear local yellow or yellow-and-white corn
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions, green and white parts
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard powder
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4-5 large basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint, optional

Shuck corn and steam for 3 minutes. When corn is cool enough to handle, cut kernels off ear and place in mixing bowl.

Half tomatoes vertically and cut one half into 4 wedges for garnish. Remove seeds from remaining tomatoes. Chop tomatoes and add to corn. Add red pepper, green onions and sweet onion. In small bowl, whisk lime juice with salt, mustard powder and 4 or 5 grinds pepper until salt dissolves. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently with fork to combine. At this point, salad can sit up to 15 minutes.

Just before serving, stack basil leaves, then cut crosswise into thin strips, and add to salad. Add mint, if using. Toss to combine herbs with salad. Garnish with tomato wedges. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. Serving size: 1 cup.

Per serving: 45 calories, <1 g fat (0 g sat fat), 10 g carbohydrates,
2 g protein, 2 g fiber 242 mg sodium.

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.

Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.

We have contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, at

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