This recipe for Raw Corn + Nectarine Salad is dead simple to make, but packed with sweet summer flavor. Think you can’t eat corn raw? When it’s exceptionally fresh and in-season, there’s no better way to enjoy it.
Where do you live? Do they have great corn there? The answer is probably yes.
No matter where a person is from, they always seem to claim that their state grows the sweetest, most amazing corn in the word. I’ve met people from Nebraska, Iowa, Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Virginia, Kentucky, Texas, California, so on and so forth, and they all say the same thing. Well I’m here to make that claim too – New Jersey grows the best damn corn in America – period.
You may want to argue with me on that, and I totally get it. Because the corn where you live, right at this very moment in August, is probably off-the-charts delicious. At the end of the day, it’s not a competition. If you think your corn tastes great, that’s all that really matters.
When corn is in season and really fresh – I mean ffrreesshh – I find one of the best ways to eat it is totally raw. Not boiled, not grilled, not slathered in butter. Raw. It’s so crisp, sweet and juicy; every single bite makes you want to take another one. Never tried it before? You’re in for a real treat.
Not all corn is going to be good raw – I can’t really stress that enough. If you bought it at a farmer’s market, chances are you scored some of the good stuff. But the only way to really know whether your corn is good enough to eat raw is to taste it. Peel back that husk and take a bite. Do you immediately want to take another one? Boom. You’re in.
Or was it starchy and bland? If so, your corn is better left for cooking – grill it, cream it, turn it into chowder, make a casserole – whatever you usually do. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just might not be the sweetest variety, or perhaps it’s a few days past it’s prime.
This recipe marries intensely fresh, raw corn with peak-season nectarines. You can use peaches in a pinch, but I find their fuzzy skin takes away from this salad’s crisp, refreshing texture. Nectarines have a smooth skin and taste tangy, which is a perfect pairing for the sugary-sweet corn. I add a little bit of scallion for bite, some fresh lime juice for brightness, and a handful of basil to really drive home that unmistakeable summery flavor. Olive oil and salt – no pepper – tie it all together. When ingredients are this good, there’s no need to be fussy. Let nature do the talking.
I went back and forth about adding feta to the recipe, and ultimately decided to serve it on the side. It’s great with a little bit of creamy, salty feta crumbled over the top. But you know what? It’s really good without it, too. I’ll let that be your call. Add it or don’t. Leave it on the side and let your guests decide. You can’t go wrong either way.
Just make this raw corn and nectarine salad now, while the nectarines are juicy, the corn is extra sweet, and it’s way too hot to even think about turning on the stove. I’ll be over here eating it every day for as long as I can get my hands on that sweet, Jersey fresh corn.
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- 4 ears very fresh in-season sweet corn, shucked*
- 2 ripe but firm nectarines, pitted and thinly sliced
- 4 scallions, very thinly sliced
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use the good stuff)
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn
- crumbled feta cheese, optional
- Place a small bowl upside down inside of a large mixing bowl. Take an ear of corn and prop it up vertically on top of the smaller bowl. Use a sharp knife to run down the sides of the cob and slice off the kernels, allowing them to fall into the larger bowl. Rotate the cob as you go, until all of the kernels have been removed. Repeat with the remaining ears of corn, then remove the smaller bowl.
- Add the nectarines and scallions, then season with salt. Drizzle with lime juice and olive oil, then mix to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Add basil and mix to combine. Serve immediately with or without crumbled feta cheese on top.
- *This recipe ONLY works with super fresh in-season corn on the cob. Taste the corn first to make sure it tastes good raw - it should be sweet and not starchy.