If I were forced to list the three things I associate most with summer, they would be corn, zucchini, and tomatoes…and I’d throw in basil for good measure..as a bonus. These items were produced in abundance in my parents’ garden when I was growing up, and every summer meal I can remember seems to feature them. Corn was usually served on the cob, but in those mournful years when I was clad in braces, I couldn’t partake. There was a silver lining, however: corn cut off the cob and sautéed in a little butter and sprinkled lightly with salt. If you’ve never had it, it’s heavenly. Zucchini was often served sautéed with onion and herbs, and my mom would make delicious, fresh salads of sliced tomatoes drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil, and adorned with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. My inspiration for summer dishes harken back to those lovely meals. Simple, fresh ingredients center stage. This recipe is a mashup of some of my childhood favorites, and for me, its summer in a side dish.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds
2 ears of corn, shucked, and kernels cut off the cob (see note)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
2. Once the butter has melted and the olive oil distributes easily to coat the pan, add the zucchini and sauté it until softened, about 7-10 minutes.
3. Add the corn to the pan and stir to combine.
4. Once the corn is warmed through, after about a minute, add the tomatoes and basil. Stir to combine.
5. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the mixture. Stir to distribute and warm all the ingredients, about 2 minutes more. When the tomatoes begin to soften, it’s ready to serve.
🌽 Cutting corn off the cob is messy and a major pain in the ass. To avoid your kitchen looking like a battlefield in which corn has been massacred, use a bundt pan to catch the kernels. Place the stem end of the shucked ear of corn in the center hole of the tube inside the pan. Using your knife, slice the corn kernels off the cob, allowing them to fall into the pan. Discard the cob, use the kernels, and face minimum cleanup. You’re welcome.