Summertime corn salad a winning picnic side

Friday, June 6, 2014, Vol. 38, No. 23

Every time I get my hair trimmed (and gray covered), my hairdresser turns her TV to the Food Network Channel. She knows I write about, cook and eat a lot of food, and that I’ve been cooking since I was able to reach the stove by standing on a chair alongside my mom and granny.

Well, maybe some of that is exaggerated, but some of it is true.

However, that channel – I don’t know, I just can’t watch it. It makes me so hungry.

And more times than not, I’m starving when I get to her shop because I haven’t eaten properly. Having to sit still for a few hours and watch meal after wonderful meal being prepared (not to mention the luscious desserts) is torture to the extreme.

The CIA doesn’t have to really use all those water-boarding techniques – or whatever it is they do – to get the bad guys to talk. All they have to do is starve a person a day or so and turn on Bobby Flay running around his grill, sprinkling spices on everything, or Rachel Ray tasting her dish, and then giggling at its wonderful flavor.

Not to mention Paula Deen with all of her ummms and ahhhs. It’s that bad.

The last time I tuned in, I was there long enough to watch several shows and have hunger pangs eat away my insides.

I watched the preparation of some mouth-watering Cuban-style pork chops with Mojo, some grilled eggplant, some kind of turnip recipe (sorry, but that one did nothing for me except bring back bad childhood memories of my grandmothers’ turnips), a really yummy-looking fried potato rosette and a tasty-looking corn salad.

Which brings me to my recipe today, a tasty corn salad.

I have a recipe similar to the one I saw aired. It’s a wonderful side dish and goes with anything from pork chops to hamburgers. It also makes a great carry-along for picnics and such.

Corn Salad

2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 fennel bulb, quartered, cored, thinly sliced and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2  tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/3 cup canola oil

In a large serving bowl, toss together the corn, apples, fennel and onion. Add the parsley and cumin and season with salt and pepper, to taste. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, mustard, and oil. Add the dressing to the vegetables and toss well to coat.

My recipe has fennel. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried fennel, but if you haven’t, now is a good time, and it’s so good in this salad. I think fennel tastes like fried okra. Seriously.

Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet. It’s a white or pale green bulb with closely arranged stalks.

The stalks have feathery green leaves, from which flowers grow and produce seeds.

The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible.

Fennel belongs to the umbelliferae family, and is related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander.

Fennel contains a large list of phytonutrients, which I could name for you but you’d probably be none the smarter by my doing so.

Just trust me. It’s a very healthy green vegetable that provides strong antioxidant protection.

However, there’s one fascinating phytonutrient compound in fennel, the anethole, which is the primary component of fennel’s volatile oil.

In animal studies, the anethole in fennel has been shown to reduce inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer. In addition to its unusual phytonutrients, the fennel bulb is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Well, I hope you’ll give this a try, and include the fennel. You won’t be disappointed.