While reporting today's story on summer vegetable plates, I collected more recipes than I could possibly put in the paper's print edition. Chef Lauren Smaxwell of The Pit shared her recipe for their tomato and cucumber salad, and Paul Dombalis at the Mecca sketched out his recipe for creamed corn. Click HERE to read my story.
The Pit's Tomato and Cucumber Salad
3 cucumbers, peeled and about 1-2 inch diced (with or without seeds, personal preference is with)
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 medium sized red onion, sliced (about 2/3 cup)
2 green onions, diced, small green and white parts
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
3 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 cup olive oil
Take the cucumbers after they've been diced and put them in a bowl separate from the other veggies. Toss them lightly with the salt and set aside for about 15 min. Mix all other veggies in another bowl. With a whisk and bowl combine dry mustard, oregano, ketchup, thyme, both vinegars, and sugar. Whisk in the olive oil. Take the cucumbers that are set aside and strain them- do not rinse. Add them to tomato mixture, toss with dressing, and enjoy. You do not need to use all the dressing. This salad dressing is great on any green salad so you can reserve some for another occasion. The salad tastes better if made at least one hour before serving. Even better the next day.
Paul Dombalis, the third generation to own the 80-year-old restaurant, sketched out his recipe for creamed corn. I didn't have a chance to test the recipe but the recipe seems easy enough. (Click HERE to read my colleague Josh Shaffer's profile of the restaurant on its 80th birthday.)
Dombalis says to cut the corn off the cob. Place corn in a saucepan. Pour enough water into the pot to come halfway up on the corn. Add a tablespoon of bacon grease. (I would probably substitute butter.) Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. When it starts bubbling, the corn is done. Turn off heat. Create a slurry of cornstarch and water. (I'd use about 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water.) Add to the creamed corn. Stir to combine.
UPDATE: My counterpart in Charlotte, Kathleen Purvis, offers this advice on creamed corn: If the corn is good and fresh, you don't need the cornstarch slurry. Know why? That milk from the corn is liquid cornstarch. When my mother pointed that out, it was one of those "ah-ha" moments.
I also use a corn stripper, an old-time trough-shaped board with a cutting blade and a raised metal edge. It slices off the tops of the corn kernels and "milks" the ear at the same time. That's another trick -- you want to cut open the kernels so you get the most milk. Of course, you can do the same thing with the blunt side of a knife blade, but a corn stripper is faster.