We are at the precipice of a riot of summer produce coming into full swing and gosh darn if that doesn’t make me stupidly excited. I love all seasons, but it is summer that I love best. And I love zucchini, especially at the beginning of summer, but often seem to develop zucchini fatigue by the time August rolls around. This week’s theme is about incorporating zucchini into dishes without it being the star, so that you get some of that lovely squash flavor without it overwhelming the dish.
Here, brown rice has been used where you might expect to find pasta. The base of the salad and the dressing – with its notes of green onion, basil, olive oil and white balsamic vinegar – are vaguely Italian, not necessarily where you’d expect to find brown rice. (This feels like a Mark Bittman-style improvisation.) I suppose this recipe is as much about creatively incorporating brown rice as it is about zucchini.
Tomato, Corn and Zucchini Salad with Brown Rice
2 cups cooked brown rice (can easily substitute quinoa or pasta)
1 medium zucchini (about 2 cups raw), quartered lengthwise and diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ear corn
crumbled feta for garnish
1 leek, diced (about 3/4 cup)
5 green onions, diced (about 1 cup)
1 Tbs chopped basil
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
2 tsp grainy dijon mustard
salt to taste
Bring water to boil for the corn; when boiling, place ear of corn into water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water. To remove corn from cob, stand the corn lengthwise on a cutting board and slice top to bottom with a sharp knife.
While the water is coming to a boil, heat a pan over a medium flame. Saute zucchini until golden but not completely soft. Combine brown rice, tomatoes, corn and zucchini in a large bowl. Set aside.
Meanwhile, saute green onion and leeks until they just begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes. Spoon into a food processor. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, basil and salt and process until blended. Spoon this over the salad ingredients and mix together. Top with crumbled feta cheese.
Can be prepared in advance and refrigerated.