SO. This salad.

Is it perfect for summer? Yes.

Does it take barely 10 minutes? Yes.

Is the bacon vinaigrette the BEST damn dressing you ever tasted?! So much yes.

Let’s discuss.

When it comes to summer dishes I like to keep things light, bright, and simple. Summer is when I prefer to mostly “assemble” my food, with raw ingredients taking center stage. This salad delivers exactly that, with the added bonus of BACON VINAIGRETTE, because I love ya so much.

This recipe calls for 5 husks of corn. As written, I’ve advised you to grill 3 of the husks before removing the corn kernels, while 2 husks can have the kernels removed raw. This, my friends, is a suggestion. If you want to use ALL raw husks or ALL grilled husks, do you!! I like the mixture of textures the raw/grilled combo provides, but if you partial to grilling or don’t want to be bothered to grill here, don’t! It’s summer, and summer is all about doing what’s easiest.

Once you decide how to handle the corn, use a vegetable peeler to slice green zucchini into ribbons. For this specific recipe, I recommend buying a GIGANTIC zucchini to work with. You know those franken-zucchini that are larger than your calf muscle? Yes, buy that. BE SURE it’s labeled organic — aka, no GMO — and if you can, a farmers market purchase is always best. But the point is, I love using a giant zucchini here because it renders the fattest ribbons, they’re practically like pappardelle. And when the bacon vinaigrette hugs each pale green swirl?

SO insanely dreamy.

With your vegetables prepped, prepare the vinaigrette of bacon fat, red wine vinegar, EVOO, dijon mustard, and a pinch of sugar. It’s easy enough, assuming you have bacon fat in your fridge. So if you don’t, a few notes:

START IMMEDIATELY. Find a small Ball jar, then every time you cook bacon drain the fat from the skillet into the jar. Let it cool completely, seal, store in the fridge, and repeat. If you’re an animal like me, you’ll have plenty soon enough.

Bacon fat can be substituted anywhere you use fats in cooking. So if a recipe calls for oil or butter and you’re in the mood for a smokey, salty taste, swap in bacon fat instead.

Bacon fat is cool. Get with it.

Long story sort — toss the zucchini noodles + corn in the bacon vinaigrette, then finish this off with a pinch of salt & pepper, crumbled cotija cheese, and crushed red peppers. The cotija adds a nice cool, creamy element against the ¬†smokey vinaigrette, and the red pepper flakes add a peppy punch of heat. Like I said earlier, this takes 10 MINUTES, so get ready to make it all summer long. Xo

10-Minute Corn & Zucchini Salad w/ Bacon Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • SALAD:
  • 3 grilled corn husks
  • 2 plain corn husks
  • 1 lb zucchini
  • a few pinches of salt & pepper
  • 2 oz cotija cheese
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper
  • VINAIGRETTE:
  • 2 tbsps bacon fat
  • 3 tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • a pinch of granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Begin by preparing the vinaigrette. Warm the bacon fat in the microwave for 5 – 10 seconds until liquid, then combine with all other dressing ingredients, whisking until smooth.
  2. Remove the corn kernels from each husk — The bundt pan method is most efficient! Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini into ribbons directly into the mixing bowl. Gently season with salt & pepper, then add the bacon vinaigrette. Toss throughly to combine.
  4. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl, then top with crumbled cotija cheese and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Serve immediately! Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for about two days.