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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Corn and tomato salad, fast slow food


If you've been a long time fan of Manresa, you know that corn and tomato salad is one of David's enduring classics at the restaurant.  So classic that it predates Manresa and traces its roots back to his previous restaurant, Sent Sovi.  So classic that each variation is notated with a version number, say, Corn and Tomato Salad, 4.2--a playful wink, really, at the location of the restaurant right smack in the middle of Silicon Valley.

When he cooks for me at our home, it's definitely not the food he serves at the restaurant, but it is no less profound.  We both love food that is perfect in its simplicity, like the perfect pairing of corn and tomato in this simple version we do in our kitchen.  Take sublime tomatoes--these are dry-farmed tomatoes from our friend Joe of Dirty Girl--and match them with sweet, sweet corn--passed ever so briefly in a simmering pot of water, just to tame the raw edge yet retain the fresh flavor.  Dress them with a simple vinaigrette, white wine vinegar, mustard, a smidgen of raw honey, perfectly fragrant, smooth, late harvest olive oil, and a happy sprinkle of sea salt.  Perhaps a handful of herbs, basil, hyssop, lemon balm, tarragon, or even some anise-y fennel fonds.  That's about it.  Make sure you have a big hunk of crusty bread around to sop up the perfectly delicious juices at the bottom of the bowl.  Better yet, pick up the bowl and drink from it.  Your kisses will be even more delicious after that.

This is fast slow food, requiring hardly any time in the preparation, but based on long, slow traditions of making great food and a biding respect for the land.  It's made quickly, yet best enjoyed ever so slowly, with a few glasses of good wine, on a balmy summer evening, in the company of the one you love.

Meanwhile, if you need a little help in appreciating the art of slow food, mark your calendar for this coming Labor Day weekend in San Francisco, where Slow Food Nation will be throwing down a serious fête, reveling in the art and beauty of food, very slowly.


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