Spears and Kernels: Asparagus and Corn Salad

Yeah. I know. I haven't been around for a while. If you can believe this, I had nothing to say. I will forge ahead as if I didn't take a break, however, I am not sure how much I can talk about fluffing pillows, pruning rose bushes... But I can give you some tried and true recipes. Let me start with this fresher-than-fresh salad. It's become my new favorite as soon as the spears start popping up from the earth. 

It's fairly simple. You need fresh asparagus and preferably fresh corn. Now, during the spring in my area, it's easier to find fresh local asparagus than it is fresh corn. We don't see much fresh corn until mid-summer. In the meantime, frozen corn will do. If you have fresh corn to prepare you can lightly blanch or grill the cobs and then cut the corn from the cob. 

How to prepare the spears and kernels:
While you're blanching the corn, you will also blanch the asparagus. How to blanch? Put the corn cobs into boiling salted water (like pasta water) for no more than three minutes and/or until the corn turns bright yellow. Then immediately toss the cobs in ice-cold water to stop the cooking.

Small tender spears are best. Save the big "fatties" for dipping or smothered with Bearnaise. Using the same boiling water, toss the clean spears of asparagus 
(tough stalks removed) into the boiling water for one minute. The spears will turn a bright green and then it's time to place the spears into ice-cold water. Don't let the spears sit too long in the chilly water or they may get a bit slimy. 

If using frozen corn, you won't need to heat it if the corn thaws naturally in the fridge or using a microwave "thaw." The microwave also works for "blanching" the asparagus.  Wrap the clean spears (bottoms snapped or trimmed) in a wet paper towel and micro for a minute (more or less) while still leaving the spears with a nice crisp. 

This recipe makes a hearty amount of salad, but it's easy to half or quarter the amount needed. I prefer to make it in the morning a few hours before it's to be served.


6 ears of shucked corn (yellow, white, or mixed), blanched or grilled. Removed from cob or use about 3 cups of frozen corn (thawed)

2 bunches trimmed and blanched asparagus, chop into at least three pieces per spear.

  • 1/4 cup diced red onion

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (or 1 Tbsp of dried basil)  

  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar

  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

    In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the finished asparagus, corn, and chopped onions. 

  • In a smaller bowl add the sugar, rice wine vinegar, salt, and pepper, and also add the basil if using dried. Mix well until sugar dissolves. Drizzle over the asparagus and corn. Mix well. Add the basil if using fresh. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. 

  • Recommended wine pairing: Asparagus can be a difficult vegetable to pair with wine. Is it the ultimate challenge? No, not at all. Pair with a white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Riesling, or a Pinot Gris/Grigio. Look for a white wine that has been fermented in neutral oak or steel. Stay away from the over-oaked Chardonnay. Or when in doubt? Grab a bottle of bubbly. Cheers! 



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