Bragging rights were mine last week. Not only did I spend the whole week at a little bayside cottage in San Diego, popping out for dips in the ocean or quick barefoot sand jogs or short trips to the Pacific Beach Farmers Market, but I did all of it with two of my favorite people in the world, my besties from high school. No boyfriends. No driving. Very little time spent doing anything but sunning ourselves and relaxing. Should we open that second bottle of wine and play another round of Bananagrams? SURE! We’re on vacation.
We’re very good at it by this point. We’ve been doing it since we were all 18 on this same stretch of Mission Beach. Every year is perfect, and this year was no exception.
While vacationing, the girls and I have a very simple agreement – they stay out of the kitchen. I love planning, buying and cooking meals and they love eating everything I make. All they need to do is keep the drinks coming, set the table and do the dishes. They get to “relax” by not cooking and I get to “relax” by experimenting in the kitchen with über fresh California produce (see recipe for Spicy Corn Salad below) and seafood. It’s a win / win for everyone!
Spicy Corn Salad
I was super inspired by the summer issue of Bon Appetit while in Mission. Ottolenghi! Melons! Robertas! Salted Caramel Swirl with Curried Nut Ice Cream! (YES!! Guess who’s going to be stalking the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck on her New York trip this week?) This salad was sort of an amalgamation of all the corn recipes in that issue. Sweet. Spicy. Charred. Perfect. Enjoy! Prep time: 15 minutes, plus 20 minutes cool time for the grilled corn, cook time: 15 minutes; serves 4.four ears of corn, husked and cleaned of silks oil for grilling 1/4 cup slivered onions, rinsed (this takes away some of their kick) juice from one lemon 1 teaspoon honey or 1/2 teaspoon agave 1/2 cup fresh herbs, chopped (go nuts! basil, cilantro, parsley, dill – whatever!) 1/2 red jalapeno, seeded and minced olive oil salt and pepper
Heat grill. Brush each ear of corn with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over hot coals or a gas grill set to high to char the kernels. This takes about 15 minutes for a good char. Allow to cool (feel free to throw whatever else you have on hand on the grill – bread, peaches, chicken, garlicky shrimp).
Cut kernels off the corn. Toss with remaining ingredients and a good glug of olive oil; toss well to combine, season generously with salt and pepper if needed and serve. Also can be prepped earlier, refrigerated and served when you’re ready.