We wait so long for summer to come — outdoor barbeques, summer corn, cool refreshing drinks … But before you know it, it’s gone, just like that! What happened!?
If you’re like me, you wait all year for summer corn. Even though sweet corn sometimes gets a bad rap due to its content of sugar, carbs, and calories, it is actually higher in fiber and protein than other vegetables. Corn is seasonal produce, and as long as the butter is only lightly used and salt isn’t poured on in excess, it’s a healthy side dish to enjoy during summer and early fall months. Best of all it can be used in a variety of ways.
Try using corn in place of a starchy side dish. Several weeks ago, I was about to grill a beautiful piece of salmon, but needed a side dish. Have you ever wanted to do something different for dinner but just didn’t want to run back to the store? I had some French style green beans in the fridge that weren’t enough for a side dish for two, but too good to throw away. I also had an ear of corn left over that was sweet as candy and also too good to toss. I also had a half red pepper left over from making a salad and some cilantro.
In the pantry, I found a can of black beans and a package of Farro, a type of wheat kernel that has been grown and used in Italy for centuries. In North America, Farro is known as “spelt,” and is now becoming more popular, especially to people who are worried about wheat gluten. Farro is pearl-shaped and has a firm, chewy texture. It is cooked similar to pasta – boiled in water and drained. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals and has a nutty flavor.
After this concoction was tossed together and cooked, it needed a little something extra to give it some oomph. Lime juice was the perfect thing. Voila! Now I only had to worry about whether my husband liked it as much as I did. If not, I’d have extra to bring to my mom. Unfortunately for Mom, there was none left. He loved it! You will, too!
Bean Farro Corn-coction
one handful fresh French green beans
one ear of corn
1/2 red pepper
1/2 small sweet onion chopped into small pieces
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
cilantro — chopped, to taste
juice of 1 large lime or 2 smaller ones
1/2 cup of Farro
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
Cook green beans until they are tender, but not overdone and cut them into 1/2 inch pieces — set aside. Cook the ear of corn and when cooled, cut kernels off the ear — set aside. Cut the pepper into small diced bits — set aside. Cook the Farro according to package directions. Serving size is 1/4 cup. Add a touch of salt to the water while the Farro is cooking. It generally cooks for about 15 minutes. Drain the Farro and set aside.
In a large, high-sided frying pan, add the olive oil and onions. When the onions are translucent, add the diced red pepper and minced garlic. When all the onions, peppers, and garlic are tender, (about 10 minutes) add the green beans, corn, Farro, black beans, cilantro and lime juice. The tablespoon of butter is optional because I’ve tried it both ways. The butter adds a bit of richness, but this dish is so full of flavor that it isn’t necessarily needed.
1 cedar plank, soaked in water for at least 2 hours
2 salmon fillets skin on or off
Salt and ground black pepper
1/8 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Season the salmon with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the syrup, butter, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and some black pepper to make the glaze. Brush the salmon tops generously with the glaze and set aside for an hour or so. Preheat the grill to medium-high. When the grill’s temperature hits 400 degrees, place the soaked cedar plank on the grill and let sit for about a minute before flipping over. Place salmon on the plank skin or bottom-side down and cook until the salmon has a nice brown shiny glaze and is firm (not hard) to the touch, about 10 minutes. It is difficult to give a set time since “doneness” depends upon the thickness of the salmon and the heat of the grill.