Couldn’t Wait Any Longer

June 24, 2008

I have been waiting so, so long to share this recipe with you. It’s one of my favorite summer recipes and it appeared on our plates last summer, in its multi-hued glory, at least a couple times every month. It reminds me of days at the market where people are three deep at the bin of sweet corn, frantically pulling back the husks to peer at the kernels, blond silks flying this way and that. I spent all fall-winter-spring longing for days like that, and for this salad.

Admittedly, we are not quite there yet. We did a little tour of Farmer’s Markets last weekend—two in Lincoln Park on Saturday and our local Wicker Park market on Sunday—and the bounty included piles of tiny strawberries, with their perfect green stems; juicy heaps of cherries; crates of sugar snap peas sweet enough to eat for dessert; and the season’s last rhubarb and asparagus. There was no corn, no okra, no cherries tomatoes. But I just couldn’t. wait. any. longer.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

The calendar (finally) says that it’s summer, so I decided it was time to make my favorite salad of the summer—local produce selection notwithstanding. This salad—actually a “skillet salsa,” a recipe name that I love—not only brims with colors, but it also pairs lovely flavors (sweet corn and tomatoes and softly spicy jalapenos and tart lime juice) and textures (tender, slightly wilted spinach, crunchy okra, bursting tomatoes). And the whole thing is bound up with the okra’s oozy liquid.

It’s an excellent bed for a grilled piece of fish (halibut or salmon, maybe rubbed with cumin and cayenne) or chicken (we used this recipe, again) or steak. It also particularly likes the nook of a salty tortilla chip. It can be eaten hot, warm, room temperature or cold. And if all of this isn’t enough to convince you that this is the perfect summer side dish or light meal, it comes together in a flash. So you can get around to more important Juneish tasks, like walking to the nearest ice cream shop, cheering on the first place Cubs or watching the sun set.

Okra, Corn and Jalapeno Skillet Salsa
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup fresh yellow corn kernels (about 2 ears)
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound okra, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add corn; saute 3 minutes. Add jalapeno, garlic and okra; saute 3 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in tomatoes and remaining ingredients.

9 Responses to “Couldn’t Wait Any Longer”

  1. eggsonsunday Says:

    Such gorgeous colors! We’ll definitely be trying this this summer…we’re growing a boatload of cherry tomato varieties! -Amy

  2. hiphostess Says:

    Looks amazing! It would really brighten up any summer meal. Great photos too!

  3. Chris Says:

    Looks fantastic!

  4. Pam Says:

    Beautiful! Simple,colorful and full of flavor. Nice job!

  5. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Says:

    Amy: You are a lucky lady! This would be great with fresh-from-the-backyard cherry tomatoes.

    hiphostess, Chris, Pam: Thank you!

  6. mari Says:

    My mother used to make a version of this! I can almost taste it now!

  7. Kari Says:

    This look delicious! I just love summer food. I have not ever eaten okra when it has not been fried:)

  8. slong Says:

    Made it. Loved it. First time with okra. Just purchased more to make another batch.

    How much S&P is enough?

  9. slong: So glad you liked it! The original recipe calls for 1/8 tsp each of salt and pepper. I probably use a bit more than that, for the salt at least (closer, I would guess, to 1/4 tsp). So, start with 1/8 tsp and test from there. Good luck!

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