Nap-Time Cooking: Corn, Peach, Tomato over Grilled Polenta

I think this may be the most delicious salad I have ever eaten. It’s two days later, and I’m still thinking about it. Bonus: it breaks down really easily into nap-time chunks of work, so you’ll be able to get this one done over the course of the day, no problem. (And if you’re not lucky enough to be caring for a newborn or, um, highly demanding toddler, it comes together in about ½ an hour doing it all at once.)

No time for a proper post—I couldn’t wait to share this bit of summery deliciousness with you. One note: As you see in the picture, I made this with bocconcini, those little balls of mozzarella you’ll find floating in whey in Italian delis and supermarkets. But, see, I hate cheese. So I didn’t use any on mine, and I was just fine. This is quite a filling salad, even without a protein.

Corn, Peach, Tomato over Grilled Polenta
Serves 4

5 ears corn, shucked
2 large or 3 small peaches, peeled and diced
1 jumbo or 2 medium/large tomatoes, diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
15-20 large basil leaves
3 tablespoons top-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (depending on how tart you like your dressing—I use 2)
salt & pepper
1 log prepared polenta
16-20 bocconcini (mozzarella balls)

If you’re not Nap-Timing this salad, just put everything into one big bowl as it’s chopped. No need to dirty separate containers, etc.

Stage 1:
Cook corn lightly—and by that I mean 3-5 minutes in the microwave. You don’t want the corn to get pale & wrinkly. Set aside to cool. (If your corn is super-fresh, you can skip the pre-cooking and just use it raw.) Meanwhile, peel and dice peaches (mine were ripe enough to peel with a paring knife, but you may have to do the blanch & plunge). Put into a strainer, inside a large bowl. Dice tomatoes and add to strainer. Dice onions and put into a separate, smaller bowl. Strip the corn kernels from the corn by running a sharp knife down the sides and put in a third bowl. Refrigerate everything.

Stage 2:
Combine all the vegetables into one large bowl, and discard the accumulated juices. Chiffonade the basil leaves: Wash and dry them, then stack them, flat, on top of each other. Roll the stack, then slice thinly through the little cigar you’ve just made—you’ll end up with pretty, thin strips of basil. Add to bowl. Add oil and vinegar, and refrigerate. (Ideally, you’d do this just before eating—the basil will blacken a bit if it sits around. But we’re going for delicious & doable, not just pretty, so do this step when you can.)

Stage 3 (when you’re ready to eat):
Remove salad from fridge—you don’t want it to be too cold when you eat. Add salt and pepper and bocconcini, toss, and set aside. Preheat a grill pan or an outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Coat lightly with oil. While it’s heating, cut the polenta into 12 slices—pat them with a paper towel to make sure they’re dry; this will help get those pretty grill marks quicker. Put polenta slices on the grill, and cook until dark grill marks appear (mine took 8 minutes), then turn over and cook the other side.

Put 3 slices of polenta on each plate. Top with salad, and serve.