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Food 52’s Healthiest: Grilled Corn and Barley Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

(Photo: James Ransom for

Every Tuesday, we scan Food52′s delectable menu of recipes for the healthiest picks they’ve got—bringing you seasonal, scrumptious fare that’s really good for you.

Don’t put your grill away quite yet! This late summer/early fall salad is zesty, delicious, and nutritious thanks to its seasonal produce and the fiber-rich power grain, barley.

Grilled Corn and Barley Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette
Serves 4

1/2 cup dried pearl barley
3 ears of corn (shucked)
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 cup cooked cannellini beans
1 vine ripened tomato
1 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 large garlic clove
1/4 cup basil cut into ribbons
1 bunch of chives, thinly sliced
¼ – ½ cup(s) olive oil

1. Boil barley according to package directions, using a large stock pot. Par boil corn for 5-6 minutes with the barley to impart some of the corn flavor directly into the barley.

2. Remove corn. Brush corn with olive oil and grill on all sides until charred gill marks appear.

3. Meanwhile, halve all of the tomatoes and prep beans (rinse and drain if using canned, prepare in advanced if using dried).

4. Cut kernels off the corn. As you cut, collect any of the “milk” that comes from the cutting process, then use the back of the knife to scrape the remaining “milk” from the cleaned cob. The juicier your corn, the better!

5. Next, cut the large tomato in half and grate with a box grater over a dish or wide bowl, discarding the skins, but collecting the juice and pulp.

6. Paste the garlic clove by mincing the garlic, and then adding some salt and rubbing the mixture between your cutting board and the side of your chef’s knife. Add that paste into the tomato mixture. Add a pinch of salt, crushed red pepper to taste, vinegar, and corn milk. Always crush dried herbs in the palm of your hand before adding to release the oils…releasing oils = releasing flavor! Whisk in olive oil slowly. Your goal here is to create an emulsion. This should yield at least a ½ c. of vinaigrette. If you plan on making ahead, make ¼ c. of extra vinaigrette to freshen before serving. Reserve your vinaigrette.

7. Combine barley, tomatoes, corn, beans and fresh herbs in a large bowl and dress with your tomato vinaigrette. Toss to combine.

8. Finish with a drizzle of your best fruity, delicious, olive oil.

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