Beat the Wheat: Corn-Tomato Salsa

By: Carol Blymire
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AKA Wine check! Friends check! Salt air check! The best dang summer salsa you will ever make? Checkity-check!

One August evening a few summers ago, a group of us were at a friend's house on the water at the south Jersey Shore. As we sat at the beautiful weathered-teak table on the portico, with the sun well on its descent toward the horizon and the rising tide lapping the dock, a friend poured each of us a big glass of a buttery Chardonnay and plunked down a bowl of corn and tomato salsa.

Mouths full, we mumbled, "ohm my gahd dis izh dah besht" and dunked in yet another chip before we'd even finished swallowing our first bite. A few minutes in, we pushed aside the basket of corn chips and got spoons out of the silverware drawer in the kitchen so we could eat right out of the bowl — it was that good. Cold and crunchy. Salty and sweet. Vinegary with heat. Summer in a bowl.

This was my first summer vacation after my celiac diagnosis, and I was still figuring out what I could and couldn't eat. It was such a pleasure to have something this good be safe for me to have, and it was easy as heck to recreate at home. I made lots of mental notes that night — promptly forgotten after more wine — and then created my own version of the salsa as soon as I got home from vacation. It's been a summer staple at my house ever since. Every bite puts me right back on my friend's porch, relaxing in the salt air, sun-borne freckles on my nose, drinking wine — no phone, no email, just a wonderful summer night with great friends and great food.

Corn and Tomato Salsa

The thing I love most about this salsa is that you can eat it with corn chips, or spoon it over grilled fish or pork chops. It's really versatile. You can use the corn just barely cooked, as directed in the recipe, or you could grill it or even mix it in raw. What matters most is using the freshest, most seasonal produce you can find. You also need to practice the art of patience with this recipe. You really do need to let this chill in the refrigerator for an hour or two before serving. It allows the vinegars to do what they need to do, and lets the juices come out of the tomatoes and settle into the salsa.

Total Time: 2+ hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Rest Time: 1-2 hours
Yield: 8 cups salsa
Level of Difficulty: Easy

4 cups grape tomatoes (a mix of red and Sun Gold yellow), roughly chopped or pulsed 5-10 times in a food processor

1/2 small red onion, diced
3 shallots, diced

4 green onions, thinly sliced (use the whole onion, green and white parts)

2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon caper brine
1 tablespoon coconut vinegar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or saba
1 teaspoon ground or cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
6 ears fresh corn

Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil for the corn.

While waiting for water to boil, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir to make sure ingredients are mixed well. Boil ears of corn for 3 minutes, then let cool for 2 minutes before handling.

Using a sharp chef's knife (I use an electric carving knife), slice corn off cob into the mixing bowl of salsa ingredients.

Stir to mix corn throughout the salsa.

Refrigerate, covered, for 1-2 hours before serving

Note: Salsa will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Perfect to make a day ahead for a picnic or party.

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