Just because we had some chicken the other night, it doesn’t mean I’ve lost interest in having all-veg dinners whenever possible. And as long as there’s such an abundance of good stuff out there, it’s so freakin’ easy to do. One of our favorite dishes last summer—it’s hard to imagine, but it was before I started Words to Eat By—was a simple sauté using cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and corn kernels fresh off the cob, all cooked very fast over high heat and tossed with a shower of herbs at the end. The sweet corn, the lightly acidic tomatoes, the mellow squash, and the bright herbal ‘splosions…mmm, heaven. Summer in a bowl, I tell ya. And it’s quick as can be—the prep takes all of five minutes, and the cooking another ten. Throw together a salad while the zucchini’s cooking, and you’ve got dinner on the table in fifteen minutes.
And another thing: this dish is wonderfully versatile. When I don’t have small tomatoes, I’ll use diced red peppers instead. The herbs can be whatever floats your boat. Even the zucchini could be yellow squash or green beans or who knows what all. Essentially, the only ingredient that doesn’t change is the corn: To me, that’s the heart of the dish. Swap that out and you’ve got something else entirely. I’m sure it’s delicious, but it’s not summer in a bowl.
A Quick Sauté of Corn, Tomato, and Zucchini
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side
2 t. olive oil
1 small red onion, diced fine
3 small zucchini, cut into small chunks
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, left whole
Kernels from 3 ears of fresh corn
Salt & pepper
2 T. fresh herbs of your choice, chopped [I used parsley and basil tonight, but I also like mint and sometimes thyme]
In your largest nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened. Add the zucchini and turn heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini softens and begins to brown, about five minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until they look nearly ready to burst, about three minutes more. Add the corn, salt, and pepper, and cook for a minute. Add the herbs, stir, and turn off the heat—the idea is really to just heat the corn through; it doesn’t need much cooking when it’s fresh.
And that’s it—put your summer in a bowl and start eating.