Sweet Corn, Bacon, and Tomato Salad

by Nicole on August 29, 2011

Sweet Corn, Bacon, and Tomato Salad

Welcome back to Fresno Flavor!  One of our goals with this blog is to showcase the wonderful fresh ingredients we have available here in the San Joaquin Valley and to share recipe ideas to help you create easy meals at home using those ingredients.  Right now, we still have delicious local sweet corn available in Fresno.  It’s the end of the growing season, but if you hurry up, you’ll be able to enjoy this salad a couple of times before local corn is gone for the year!

The Fresno State Farm Market is a great place to grab ears of freshly picked sweet corn, but it always goes fast so it’s smart to give them a call before making the drive.  They are completely out of corn as of this afternoon, but I was told they should have some more available by Wednesday morning.  You can visit the Farm Market web site for store hours and to see what other vegetables are currently in stock.  If corn isn’t your thing, you still might want to check out the market for locally produced olive oil, ice cream, wine, nuts, meats, and sausages.  We sampled the olive oils for the first time recently and really liked them!  You can even bring your own bottles to fill with olive oil and save a bit of money.

Another great place to pick up some local corn is at The Vineyard Farmer’s Market.  Phillip stopped by the market Saturday morning and brought me the corn and organic cherry tomatoes that ended up in this salad.  The market is located in Fresno at Shaw and Blackstone and is open on Saturdays from 7 – noon (it’s best to arrive early) and Wednesdays from 3 – 6pm, year round.  I especially love the little orange Sun Gold tomatoes that came from K.M.K. Farms – they’re as sweet as candy!

Now, on to the recipe!  The ingredients for this salad are simple: fresh corn, bacon, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil.  The only seasonings are cider vinegar, salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

Ingredients for Corn, Bacon, and Tomato Salad

The first thing you’ll want to do is shuck your corn and cut off the kernels, slice your cherry tomatoes in half – about 3 cups worth, and dice a medium red onion  (or half a large one).

Prepped Ingredients - cherry tomatoes, corn, red onion

Next, cook the bacon.  I specify thick-sliced bacon in the recipe, but you can use the thinner stuff if you’d like – just double the amount of slices.  When the bacon is crisp, remove it to a plate and leave all the drippings in the pan.

Sizzling Bacon

Next, add the red onion to the bacon drippings and cook over medium-low heat until softened.

Onions Cooking in Bacon Drippings

Once the onions are soft, add the corn and turn the heat back up to medium.  Cook the corn, stirring occasionally, until it’s tender and just starting to brown in places, about ten minutes or so.  Now scrape all that corn and onion goodness into a large mixing bowl and set it aside for about ten minutes to cool.

Sauteeing Bacon and Onions

While the corn is cooling, slice the bacon crosswise into thin strips and do the same thing with a handful of basil leaves.

Sliced Bacon and Basil

Next, add the sliced tomatoes (along with accumulated juices), bacon, and basil to the bowl with the corn and onions.  Pour in 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar, a big pinch of salt, and some freshly ground pepper.  Toss everything together.  Let it sit for a few minutes to let the flavors mingle, then stir again and taste it.  Add more salt and/or pepper if needed.

Salad Ingredients in Mixing Bowl

The salad is best served at room temperature.  It would make an excellent barbecue side dish, but I also think it would be great spooned over a piece of grilled or pan-seared fish.  Today, we ate it alone for lunch.  If you’d like to make a vegetarian or vegan version of this dish, omit the bacon, increase the amount of onion, and use a combination of olive oil and butter (or coconut oil) for sautéing.


Sweet Corn, Bacon, and Tomato Salad

Sweet Corn, Bacon, and Tomato Salad
Serves 4 – 6.

4 slices of thick-cut bacon
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
cut kernels from 4 ears of corn (about 2 cups)
3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon to a plate and set aside. Turn heat down to medium-low and add onions to the bacon drippings in the skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened – about 5 minutes.  Add corn, turn heat back up to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and just starting to brown in spots – about 7 – 10 minutes.  Remove corn and onion mixture to a large mixing bowl and let cool for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, cut the bacon crosswise into thin slices.  Add the sliced tomatoes, bacon, basil, and vinegar to the bowl with the corn.  Sprinkle in a big pinch of salt and some fresh ground black pepper.  Toss everything together, let sit for a few minutes, then toss again and taste.  Add more salt and/or pepper if needed.  Serve immediately at room temperature.

Other Recipes Featuring Fresh Corn: