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Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad

Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad

When it comes to potluck parties, pasta salad makes a lot of sense. It’s sturdy and portable and has enough starch to fill the bellies of my gluten loving friends. However, a pasta salad can also be a bit boring. So I say, don’t let it. Look around for inspiration and put together a salad that inspires you. This Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad is quite a plateful. Sweet and juicy tomatoes are the star here. In Los Angeles end-of-summer tomatoes burst with flavor and need little embellishment to create a spectacular dish. However, I have a wondering eye and I have to admit that sweet corn often catches that eye and demands attention too. I’ve dressed these beauties with a special red-wine oregano vinaigrette that has colorful hue of its own.

Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad

I guess you could say that the colors of the season inspired this pasta salad. This is the time of year when North American Farmers Markets are literally pumped up with colorful produce. It seems all the brightest vegetal hues make themselves prominent during these last throes of a long hot summer. Green herbs, crimson tomatoes and golden corn embellish the stalls at my Farmers Market with all the flair of a Hello Kitty Lunch Box. So I threw a few of these eye catching colors into a bowl and made an end-of-summer Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad that is anything but boring.

Which is a good thing. We’ve been beaten down by some brutal heat here in Hollywood this past few weeks, and honestly I’m sick of the heat. So when a pool party invite came my way I opted for a cool pasta salad full of warm colors.

I know I sound like a wimp, but when I signed on to the whole ‘LA lifestyle’ thing it was the 70-something and sunny part that really sold me. I’d lived in Santa Barbara for several years before I moved to Los Angeles. I moved here because Santa Barbara can be way too cold (all year-long). Not snowstorm cold, but still it’s chilly and gray– a lot.

I know it sounds like I’m whining. Santa Barbara is too cold. Los Angeles is too hot (blah, blah, blah). So instead of opening my mouth to complain about the weather I should probably stick a forkful of Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad in and shut up. Cooler days are ahead. I know they are. GREG

Tomatoes and CornRed Wine Oregano VinaigretteFresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad

Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad with Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6–8Source Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette adapted from The Lemonade CookbookPublished
Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad with Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 12 kalamata olives (pitted and chopped)
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano (leaves only, plus plenty more as garnish)
  • 2 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for grill)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (plus more for seasoning)
  • 4 ears of fresh corn (husked and silks removed)
  • 1 pound dried orecchiette pasta
  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 5 ounce crumbled feta

Directions

Make the Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette: In a blender, combine vinegar, lemon juice, olives. oregano, garlic, honey, oil, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Blend on high speed until very smooth, about 1 minute. Pour the vinaigrette into a lidded jar. Keep covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Char the corn: Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Rub corn with oil. Grill, turning frequently, until corn is charred and heated through, 10–12 minutes. Remove from grill; when cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a large bowl. Corn can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature until ready to continue.

Assemble the salad: Bring a large pot salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta and place the pasta in a large serving bowl. Add about ⅓ cup Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette to the pasta while still warm, stir to combine. Set aside to cool completely, stirring occasionally and possibly adding more vinaigrette to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile halve, core and cut the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks.

Once the pasta has cooled add tomatoes, corn, and feta cheese to the serving bowl. Toss to combine. Garnish generously with extra oregano leaves and black pepper. Serve with additional Red Wine-Oregano Vinaigrette on the side.

Fresh Tomato and Charred Corn Pasta Salad