This is the single most requested item on the Esca menu in the summer and early fall, when fresh corn is at its peak in the Northeast. I roast the corn to intensify its sweetness and give it an understated smoky flavor. When you’re toasting the walnuts, watch them carefully—do not walk away from the pan, even for a moment, as they go from toasted to burned in seconds.
Directions for: Corn Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese
ears corn, husked
cup Rosemary Oil
cup Braised Mushrooms, preferably chanterelle
Tbsp unsalted butter
oz dry aged goat cheese finely grated using the small holes of a box grater
Freshly ground black pepper
cup arugula, rinsed and spun-dry
1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
2. Prepare a charcoal fire. Grill the corn over the fire until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Cut off the narrow end of the cob. Hold the ear with one hand, the flat end resting on a cutting board, and cut the kernels from the cob. Place the kernels in a bowl. Repeat with each ear of corn. Set the corn kernels aside.
3. Place the walnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 3 minutes, or until they begin to give off an aroma. Remove from the oven and set aside.
4. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the Rosemary Oil. Slightly crush the toasted walnuts in your hand and add to the pan along with the Braised Mushrooms. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the corn kernels, stir to combine, and sauté for 3 minutes, until the corn is hot. Add the butter and 2 tablespoons of the grated goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Place the arugula leaves in a mixing bowl. Dress them with most of the Rosemary Oil and season with salt and pepper. To serve, spoon the corn mixture into the center of four serving plates and sprinkle with half the remaining goat cheese. Top with the arugula and the rest of the goat cheese. Drizzle each plate with some of the remaining Rosemary Oil.