chayote, corn and tomato salad

Oh, Mother Nature! I’m so tired of all of these wishy-washy, partly-cloudy/chance of showers forecasts. It’s almost June! I’m ready for warm nights and open windows! I’m ready for cold drinks out on the stoop and brown bags in the park! I am ready for summer! (p.s. it is pouring rain as I write this.)

We celebrated AD’s birthday a few weeks ago with a little surprise picnic in the park. It was a typical overcast San Francisco Saturday, rolling fog and all. But the sun made a few appearances that afternoon and somehow a few of us even managed to get sunburned (I was spared because I wore my SPF 55 that day). Lesson learned: great people, layered clothing and plenty of libations make even cloudy day picnics a hit.

This chayote, corn and tomato salad was supposed to make an appearance that day, but in the midst of loading the car with beer and wine and flowers and cupcakes, the salad bowl got left behind, and we had to make due without. Which was totally fine because there were taco fixings to go around for days. So all the salad components went back home with me and were thrown together the next day. Hooray for my forgetfulness! This is everything a summer salad should be – colorful, refreshing and easy to prepare. I especially enjoyed it alongside grilled fish.  It would be the perfect addition to any bbq or picnic. Next time I just need to remember the bowl.

chayote, corn and tomato salad with red wine vinaigrette

from Doña Tomás by Thomas Schnetz and Dona Savitsky

serves 4 to 6

for the vinaigrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 shallots, minced

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt

1 pinch granulated sugar

2 chayotes (if you cant find chayote, jicama is a great substitute)

1/2 red onion

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, preferably sweet 100s

kernels from 2 ears fresh corn

1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped

about 1 tablespoon kosher salt

about 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the vinaigrette:

Combine the vinegar, garlic and shallots in a small bowl and mix well. Whisk in the oil, the adjust the seasoning with salt and sugar. The vinaigrette can be covered and refrigerated for 1 week.

Slice the chayotes lengthwise and cut into cubes about the same size as the corn kernels. Cut the onion in the same manner. Place the chayotes, onion tomatoes, corn and cilantro in a bowl and toss gently. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, until chilled.

Add about half of the vinaigrette and the salt and pepper. Toss gently until the vegetables are well coated. Taste and adjust the amount of seasoning and vinaigrette accordingly, without causing the dressing to pool. Serve immediately. If the salad is tossed too far in advance (a few hours), the vegetables will become soggy.

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