Pizzeria Delfina is one of my favorite lunch spots in the city (my go-to order is their broccoli rabe pizza, a poem to Neapolitan pies everywhere) and a new-favorite starter is their special insalata granturco (“corncob salad”), an easy arrangement of sweet summer corn, cherry tomatoes, and arugula. The salad tastes like summer, light and sweet and pared down to a breezy, bright simplicity.
It’s so simple, actually, that my version involves three minutes in a microwave (sweet summer corn and no cleanup!) and two minutes on a cutting board, and that’s about it. You’ll notice there are no proper measurements below, just an eyeballed estimate, and I don’t even fuss with a vinaigrette, opting to just glug a little olive oil and balsamic over top. Serve on a platter or in a large, shallow bowl so it’s easy to see and scoop up all those lovely ingredients, and consider pairing it with marinated, grilled flank steak, which in my estimation is a perfect match. Summertime and the living is so easy.
Quick Corn & Tomato Summer Salad
inspired by Pizzeria Delfina’s Insalata Granturco; serves 3-4
- one ear of corn in its husk
- half-pint of cherry tomatoes
- four large handfuls of arugula
- ricotta salata, pecorino or any other aged sheep’s milk cheese
- extra-virgin olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- kosher salt and pepper
Cut off the top 1″ of the corncob and discard. Dampen a paper towel so it’s saturated but not dripping wet and fold into quarters. Place the towel on top of the corncob and microwave for 90 seconds. Flip the corn over, return the paper towel on top and microwave for 90 more seconds. Carefully pull back the husk and any silk (it will be steaming hot) and cut off the stalk end by 1/2″; discard the husk. Prop the corncob up vertically on a cutting board and with a sharp knife, slice off the kernels.
Slice the cherry tomatoes into halves. In a large salad bowl or platter, add the tomatoes and corn kernels and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Add the arugula. With a vegetable peeler, shave a bit of the cheese over top. Dress very lightly with equal parts olive oil and vinegar, about a tablespoon at a time, and toss. (You can always add more, but you can’t take it away; aim to just barely kiss the arugula with dressing.) Grind pepper over top and garnish with a some cheese shavings. Serve.
Note: If you don’t have a microwave, you can also steam the corn on the stovetop. Remove the husk and any silk, cut in half cross-wise and place in a steamer basket, covered, over simmering water for about 15 minutes or until tender.