Summer’s sultry heat is here to stay awhile and that means one thing: Gardens and farm stands everywhere are bursting at the seams with fresh fruits and vegetables. If you have a garden, even a small one, chances are you have more than you need this time of year. We always seem to plant way too much. And even with eating fresh, dehydrating, canning, freezing, and preserving, we still have more than enough to give away. And then some.
Since this is the first year with chickens, they’re getting a lot of the leftovers and we’re discovering happy, well fed chickens lay amazing eggs! I love that they are little garbage disposals that not only give us gorgeous eggs, they also provide A LOT of fertilizer.
More on the chickens in another post. Today we are talking about fresh SWEET CORN!
According to Garden.org, corn is a member of the grass family. It was first domesticated from a wild grain several thousand years ago by Aztec and Mayan Indians in Mexico and Central America. The first corn was a loose-podded variety that looked like the seed head at the top of wheat stalks. The kernels were small and each covered by a hull. Central and South American peoples came to depend so heavily on corn — or maize — that they devised some of the earliest calendars just to keep track of their corn planting and harvesting schedules.
Eventually, corn’s popularity spread to North America. By the time the first European settlers arrived on this continent, corn was the chief food crop of the native Indians. The colonists quickly learned how to grow corn, and they enthusiastically adopted the new staple. In fact, much of the early fighting that took place between the settlers and the Indians was over cornfields. The stakes were high; losing a cornfield meant losing your food supply.
Back then, people raised what’s now called field corn. Some corn was eaten fresh, but most of the harvest was cooked in fried cakes, breads and puddings, dried for winter storage or ground into cornmeal and corn flour. Field corn was also used for livestock feed, as it is today. Sweet corn varieties weren’t developed until the 1700s.
Over the years, cross-pollination during cultivation caused genetic changes that transformed corn into the shape and size we now know. Today, corn is still more popular in this country than anywhere else in the world. There are thousands of strains of corn, with more than 200 varieties of sweet corn alone.
So, what are we making today you ask? Summer Orzo Salad with Fire Roasted Corn & Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette!
Tender al dente orzo pasta with an addictive lemony vinaigrette makes for a scrumptious summer salad and is the perfect make ahead dish for picnics or potlucks.
Be sure to check out these easy recipes to make this delicious salad:
- 1 pound Colavita Orzo Pasta
- ¼ cup Colavita Limonolio
- ¼ cup Colavita Champagne Vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup preserved lemons, rinsed and finely chopped
- 2 cups grilled corn kernels
- ¼ cup Colavita Sundried Tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
- ¼ cup Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Drain and cool under running water; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, and salt and pepper. Add the preserved lemon and pasta and stir to combine. Stir in the corn, tomatoes, parsley, onion, and cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
The post Summer Orzo Salad with Fire Roasted Corn & Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette is sponsored by Colavita. I have been using Colavita’s quality products for many years and this trusted family brand is a perfect fit for my garden to table creations. For more information, please visit Colavita.com.