Ina Garten’s Recipe Is the Best Way To Enjoy Corn This Summer

I can't stop eating it!

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Getty Images

Released in 1999, Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook is a favorite in my collection. I received it as a gift for my college graduation long before I really knew how to cook. The recipes within its pages have started new traditions for my family.

I've made Beatty’s Chocolate Cake for my husband every year on his birthday since we started dating, and my children now come to expect “ganache cake” (as they call it) when their birthdays roll around. When everyone needs a little taste of comfort, we turn to her turkey meatloaf.

I thought I’d made every recipe in the book at least twice, but it turns out that one unassuming recipe evaded me: Ina’s Fresh Corn Salad. If I’m being honest, the recipe didn’t strike me as particularly interesting at first glance. The ingredient list is simple. I had almost everything on hand except fresh corn.

However, as I’ve learned time and time again, Ina knows how to bring out the very best flavor in a dish, often in the most unassuming way possible. In this recipe, the trick is in coaxing extra sweet, fresh flavor from the corn, with none of the starchiness.

<p>Simply Recipes / Molly Adams</p>

Simply Recipes / Molly Adams

Ingredients for Ina’s Corn Salad

  • Corn: The star of the show! The key to using fresh corn in this recipe is how it’s cooked. Ina instructs you to cook the corn in boiling salted water for just three minutes. This short cooking time brings out the sweetness and cuts down on the starchiness of fresh corn. I was tempted to skip the boiling step, but it greatly improves the texture of the salad. Plus, boiling the corn in heavily salted water perfectly seasons it.

  • Apple cider vinegar: I was a bit skeptical that this would be the right acid for corn, but I could not have been more wrong. The slight sweetness from the apple cider really accentuates the sweet corn flavor.

  • Red onion: I am not a fan of raw red onion, so once diced, I soaked it in the apple cider vinegar used in the salad while the corn cooked to tame the flavor a bit.

  • Olive oil: I like that this salad is very lightly dressed. There is just enough olive oil to give the corn flavor and body without taking away from its sweetness. I used my everyday extra-virgin olive oil here. I think anything will do as long as it’s not super bitter.

  • Basil: The pièce de résistance! This is what brings everything together. The basil's slightly sweet, floral, and herbaceous flavor made this dish taste like pure summer. I like Ina’s tip of reserving the basil until right before serving so it doesn’t brown. That said, my leftover salad was more than acceptable the next day.

<p>Simply Recipes / Molly Adams</p>

Simply Recipes / Molly Adams

Tips for Making Ina's Corn Salad

The first time I made this salad was for a BBQ in mid-May. I’m located in New England, so I didn’t have high hopes for the fresh corn. Shockingly, the ears I picked up at my local grocery store were fantastic, but I also grabbed some frozen corn as a hedge.

I’ve since made the dish with frozen corn by simply sautéeing it in olive oil and then letting it cool before assembling the salad. While I prefer the flavor of fresh corn, frozen definitely works in a pinch and makes the dish a breeze to throw together if you are serving a crowd.

I already know this salad will be on repeat in my house all summer long. It's fresh, sweet, crunchy, herbaceous, and slightly tart. I can't stop eating it! Not only is it incredibly delicious by the spoonful, it's amazing as a chunky dip for chips, and I've even used a little in a scramble for breakfast. The last time I made it, I added a can of drained black beans and some minced jalapeño, and I enjoyed it with tortillas and as an easy weeknight side dish.

Let this serve as a reminder that cookbooks make wonderful gifts for all those 2024 grads, maybe with a little cash for some groceries, too!

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