take it with you June 19, 2013

Tomato & Corn Picnic Salad

When I was younger – which was at least 287 years ago – I spent some time in France. Like a lot of young folks, I stayed with a host family that lived in Poitiers. My months there were my first trip overseas, which was such an important trip to my folks because they never even had a passport. I got there all bright eyed and full of wonder. It was all so Bon Voyage Charlie Brown – the house with the big wood windows that opened up to countryside and a lake. My first meal there was a whole fish I was expected to de-bone without knowing how to do it and not knowing the words to ask for help. Mon dieu.

The time of year that I arrived there is when French families go on holiday – weeks of traveling around the country (in my family’s case, at least). We took several mini trips to see the architecture of Tours, drives through the country and some trips to the shore. On one of those trips to the water, to a town called La Rochelle, we picnicked for days. Eating a bit of cheese sitting on chairs outside of a camper that looked a bit like a canned ham. Baguette and butter and sips of wine (what) and sausages and some pieces of chocolate.

Today I made this salad – a salad I’ve made about 9,774 times in my lifetime – and these thoughts of France came back to me. One particular day, we went out on a boat tour in La Rochelle where there’s one particular spot at which point all of the structures in the water are perfectly aligned and you can see them all famously. Afterwards, we ate cold hot dogs and this corn salad out of take-out containers that was so insanely simple but, to me at the time, was revelatory. Raw corn, a bit of tomato, some onion and healthy glugs of red wine vinegar. I came back to the States and told my mom about that corn salad…and she started making it…and I started making it. It’s the thing I make when I can’t cook, when I want something crunchy, when corn is at its peak, when I need to feed a bunch of folks fast (and inexpensively), when I need to take something with me.

Corn and Tomato Picnic Salad – serves 4 as a filling side salad

There are probably half a million corn salad recipes on the Internet. This is mine. It’s probably the dish I’ve made most often in my life. Making it with crisp, fresh corn (whatever color you like) and ripe tomatoes is key. Outside of that, personalize it however you’d like. Trade out the oregano for basil or other herbs. In place of the feta, use another crumbly cheese you like – or keep it vegan and leave the dairy out. It’s just as good without it and lets you keep it at room temp without fretting about it too much.

  • 4 ears of fresh yellow or white corn (or a combo of both) – sliced off the cob
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (if you like it a bit tangier, add another splash or two)
  • 2 tbsp. great quality extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 ounces goat milk feta or other crumbly cheese like ricotta salata (optional)

– In a medium mixing bowl or plastic storage container, mix together the corn, tomatoes, red onion and oregano. Drizzle the mixture with vinegar & oil. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If using, crumble the cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so. If you don’t include the cheese, this salad will travel and keep at room temperature for a good while – just make sure it’s covered or sealed.

ps: this is the first time in the history of this blog that I’ve ever used a photo from my phone. this was a photo of my lunch today that I posted on Instagram…and I just loved it so much, I chose it over the DSLR shots I took afterwards. woo!


Lynn Jun 20, 2013 05:06 am

Your time in France sounds truly wondrous. I have always wanted to go – you have planted the seed for that again.

Thank you for this recipe – simple and good. I will surely make it.

mimi Jun 20, 2013 10:06 am

good ole instagram! beautiful salad and story! Love France.

Looks gorgeous and so fresh and tasty. It’d go well on a taco, too!

You make me miss France. I’ve only ever been to Paris, but it was so, so gorgeous.

The Teacher Cooks Jun 20, 2013 02:06 pm

I love this salad and the photo from your phone. Wow!

Delia William Jun 21, 2013 06:06 am

There would have been more corn salad to photograph, but I ate a giant plate of it for my lunch today. Trust me, this recipe is a keeper. You’ll want to print it out and put it in your recipe box for sure.

Laura Jun 21, 2013 12:06 pm

Loved this photo when you posted it on Instagram! Inexpensive and beautiful summer salads are always a must, and that it’s a “memory food” is a bonus too :)

Phyllis Jun 25, 2013 06:06 pm

The salad looks beautiful, a hit of summer! We only eat corn in the summer, so I can hardly wait for August when the harvest happens to try this recipe! Thanks!


Yoon Jun 26, 2013 12:06 am

ahh love your story and the salad looks sooo yummy! We’d love to see you share more of your fun and creative content on bettyvision.com to inspire even more people! I’m gonna try this recipe out now!

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com Jun 29, 2013 07:06 pm

Your story about France makes me even more anxious to visit there someday :)

And that instagram photo is to die for — literally :)

DessertForTwo Jul 1, 2013 08:07 am

Your version of corn salad looks the best! And the story sells me on it even more. I’ve got to make this!

[…] is just a quick salad I made from an idea on the Running with Tweezers blog. Sweetcorn and tomato seems like an odd combination but it works really well. I swapped red wine […]

merry jennifer Jul 5, 2013 08:07 am

Ah, France. I’ve never been, but I’ve been thinking of planning a trip in the next 18 months or so. Your story of your time there is the extra push I need to get planning.

Can’t wait to try this corn salad! Just like where you are, fresh corn is overflowing the shelves in the grocery store.

[…] Kati Rolls 13. Easy Chocolate Gelato 14. Coconut Lime Tres Leches Cakes 15. Brioche Burger Buns 16. Tomato Corn Picnic Salad 17. Baba Ghanoush Dip 18. Cheese and Onion Scones 19. Chicken Ranch Burgers 20. Mushroom Rosemary […]

Sydnee Coccimiglio Jul 31, 2013 05:07 pm

This looks beyond amazing. Check out more recipes at Sydneecoccimiglio.com

Kelly Kardos Aug 2, 2013 09:08 pm

Hi Tami,
Just read your interview in CLICK and lived it. I didn’t realize how much food stylists actually do. I loved the article and your photos are delicious! Love your blog.

Lara darling Aug 3, 2013 12:08 am

Great corn salad. I’m going to try this for sure. Might add some coriander and see how I go with that. Awesome summer salad. Great post. Thanks!

chandramauli Aug 29, 2013 07:08 am

hiiiiiii….. i think you had a great time at France. and thanks for the recipe. its too good…….. to get more tasty food through home delivery just go through mealoncall.in

[…] a salad…or three. Greens don’t travel well, but this super simple and super yummy Tomato and Corn Picnic Salad from Running with Tweezers will hold up brilliantly in the heat or on the […]

[…] I’m always a little obsessed with raw corn and tomato salads in the summer and this one is no exception. This beautiful purple corn (that I’ve been finding at Earth Fare) adds a really cool pop of color – this would be just as tasty with your standard white or yellow corn. This recipe is also a study in using some pantry and fridge staples to stretch out a dish. I always have a jar of heart of palm on hand to work into salads like this – I adore them and it’s a great excuse to eat them. As it is now, this salad is vegan but feel free to throw in some crumbled feta cheese or some ricotta salata. […]