One of the good things about being married to a chef is that I get to occasionally hang out with other chefs. This was the case a couple weeks ago when I volunteered at a local food and wine event. I helped man the Oceanaire table passing out Corn Cakes with Smoked Trout topped with an extremely tasty summer relish. At least a dozen people told me that the corn cakes were the best food item there...and, even though I am obviously biased, I had to agree.
A corn cake is a crowd-pleaser but for me, it was the relish element that made it a real standout. The flavors were so bright, so full of summer sun that I couldn't get enough of it. The Chef's boss, Rick, was kind enough to pass along his recipe to me which was adapted from one that appeared in Food and Wine magazine a while back.
I love the lively colors of this relish. Heirloom tomatoes come in so many shades that I recommend mixing them up if you have them. I used both lime green and deep purple tomatoes and they looked (and tasted) great. Last night we served this with some grilled steak but I can't think of a protein this relish wouldn't compliment. At the restaurant The Chef served it with some cornmeal crusted salmon and as an accompaniment to seared scallops with sweet corn flan.
For about 4 cups of relish:
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoons mustard seed
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2½ cups of ½-inch diced heirloom tomatoes
- ¾ cup of ¼-inch diced zucchini or yellow squash
- 1 ear of sweet corn
- 2 tablespoons onion or shallot, minced
- 1 jalapeno or other hot peppers, minced
In a small saucepan, boil the vinegar, salt and sugar until dissolved. Pour into a large bowl.
In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat, add the garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, black pepper, and cumin. Stir frequently and remove from the heat after about a minute.
Slowly whisk the oil into the vinegar mixture. Blanch the sweet corn in boiling water for 1 minute. Run it under cold water or place it in an ice bath to cool. Cut the kernels off the cob and add it to the bowl. Add the tomatoes, squash, onion, and jalapeno and gently stir. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Adapted from a recipe in Food and Wine Magazine.