California Sol Food: Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad

Cover recipe- California Sol Food,   Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad: Copyright 2004

This cookbook from the Junior League of San Diego happens to be near and dear to my heart.  I helped put the cookbook together when I was a member of the League in the early 2000’s.  The recipes were carefully selected and triple tested before final decisions were made on what would be placed into the cookbook.  I can share with great confidence, that I’ve tried over half of the recipes in the book, and all of them are fabulous.  In creating the book, the League really tried to capture the essence of the Southern California lifestyle and the recipes to go with it.  SoCal classics such as Fish Tacos, Margarita Cake and Grilled Avocado & Tomato Salad remind us that food can be fresh and fun.  It’s a cookbook worthy of having on your cookbook shelf.

The cover recipe- Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad– is one that I’ve made many times (that gives you a little hint on how much I like it!)  See my notes below…

Print Print Recipe

Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad

Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time: 25 min + chill time

Cook Time: 5 min


12 large ears of white corn
7 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1 cup packed julienned fresh basil
10 Roma tomatoes, chopped
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste


1.  Cut the tops of the corn kernels off the cob with a sharp knife and put into a bowl.  Heat 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil in each of 2 large skillets.  Add 1/2 of the garlic and 1/2 of the corn to each of the skillets.
2.  Saute for 5 minutes or until the corn is tender.  Remove from the heat.  Add 1/2 of the basil to each skillet and mix well.  Spoon the corn mixture into 2 large bowls.  Cool slightly, stirring occasionally.  Add 1/2 of the remaining olive oil, 1/2 of the tomatoes, 1/2 of the vinegar and 1/2 of the remaining basil to each bowl and mix gently.
3.  Season with salt and pepper. Chill, covered, for 3 to 8 hours.


*The corn is not boiled, it's lightly sauteed.  I can't think but how wonderful it would also be if the corn were lightly grilled instead.  That would definitely give it a bit of a smoky flavor.
*I prefer using cherry or grape tomatoes in lieu of chopped Roma's.  The photo above shows chopped tomatoes, but it's better with the sweet taste of the smaller tomatoes.
*I was a little worried that the balsamic would discolor the corn, making it an unattractive salad.  Not to worry... it doesn't.
*Be sure to let the salad "marinate" in the dressing for several hours before serving- tossing it a couple of times along the way.

The results:

I LOVE this salad.  I’ve made it many times and will make it many more- so easy, fresh and delicious with fresh corn in the summer.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Sure.  I maybe would have put fish tacos on the cover since that’s definitely what represents the food of Southern California to me, but the salad is a good enough choice.  It represents the fresh flavors that Southern Californians have access to.

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

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2 Responses to “California Sol Food: Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad”

  1. 1

    Sues — July 14, 2010 @ 6:53 am

    Yours looks a million times better! So much brighter and fresher looking :)

  2. 2

    Chocolate and Toast — July 14, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

    Yum! I can’t wait till we get some seriously good corn here . . . we’re a little behind this year thanks to all the cold spring weather!

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