What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

July 25, 2012

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Melons

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Melons

Summertime is melon time, so grab a sweet-smelling honeydew or cantaloupe from Sigona’s today and get ready for an explosion of sugary flavors!

Sweet Local Orange flesh Honeydew with a Drizzle of Reduced Balsamic

I really like this 2 minute recipe on a hot day. It’s quick, easy and refreshing. I really like to serve the melon chilled.

Ingredients

  • ½ orange flesh honeydew cut into wedges
  • ¼ cup balsamic
  • 3 sprigs of mint

Directions

  • Slice melon wedges and arrange on a plate
  • In a medium size sauce pan, gently reduce balsamic over medium-low heat by half (This takes several minutes or less.)
  • Remove from heat and cool
  • Drizzle over melon
  • With scissors, cut very thin strips of mint over the melons
  • Garnish with remaining mint and serve

Local Melon Red Wine

This little desert reminds me so much of my grandfather. He made his wine with a blend of 90% Lodi old vine zinfandel and 10 % Muscat. There was always fruit after dinner. This is one of the simple ways we enjoyed fresh fruit.

Ingredients

  • Any type of in-season local melon cut into cubes
    • If you want to get fancy, scoop out balls with a melon baller
  • Wine in a glass. We have two wines in particular that go very well and remind me of my grandfather:
    • Regio Zinfandel: A wonderful old-vine Zin from, you guessed it, Lodi. This wine is priced right for everyday drinking and has nice fruity notes with mild tannins.
    • Rare Red: A 4 blend of Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Cabenet and Petite Verdot. It’s light and fruity but has body.

Directions

  • Pour your desired wine into a glass
  • Add choice of fruit
  • Enjoy!

Prosciutto and Melon Salad with a Drizzle of Balsamic Syrup

Not only will this salad taste amazing, but the reduction of the balsamic will have your house smelling amazing. Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 12 wedges of fresh honeydew melon, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma
  • 4 cups of wild arugula, washed, stemmed and patted dry
  • Drizzle of Sigona’s Chilean Koroneiki extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ounce pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup reduced balsamic, recipe follows

Directions

Season the melon with salt and pepper. Wrap two pieces of prosciutto around each wedge of melon. In a mixing bowl, toss the greens with olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Mound the greens in the center of four plates. Arrange three prosciutto wrapped melon around each mound of greens. Shave the cheese over the greens. Drizzle each salad with the reduce balsamic.

  • Reduced balsamic
  • 3 cups balsamic vinegar

In a medium-saucepan, over medium heat, add the balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, for up to 30 minutes or until syrup-like consistency. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Yield: about 1/4 cup

Cantaloupe, Prosciutto and Arugula Salad with Peach Balsamic

This is one of my personal favorite summer salads that I make all the time. It pairs perfectly with the peach balsamic. Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Sigona’s peach balsamic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Sigona’s Arbequina olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, chives and parsley
  • 1 cantaloupe, peeled seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 10 ounces wild arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 1 cup roughly chopped toasted sprouted gourmet almonds (On sale right now at Sigona’s)

Directions

In a mixing bowl combine the peach balsamic, shallot, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. While continuing to whisk the mixture, add Sigona’s Arbequina olive oil in a slow and steady stream.

Combine the Arbequina olive oil in a measuring cup. While continuously whisking the vinegar mixture, add the oil in a slow, steady stream, until completely emulsified. Whisk in the fresh herbs and set aside as you prepare the salad.

In a large bowl, combine the cantaloupe, red onion, prosciutto, wild arugula and sprouted gourmet almonds. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine; all ingredients should be well coated with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Free Honey Royal Nectarine or Doughnut Peach Gelato

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The Joys of Melon Season: Part I

The Joys of Melon Season: Part I

Nutritional Value and How to Select Them

By Robbie Sigona

I honestly love this time of year. The weather is warm and fantastic every day, the San Francisco Giants are battling for first place and the first melons of the season are arriving in our stores.

And let me just say this: they are tasting really, really good right now.

We get our melons from Turlock Fruit Company in, you guessed it, Turlock, CA. Owner and grower Don Smith is a second generation melon aficionado who decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. 94 years after his dad first started the company, the family business is as strong as ever. Heck, there’s even a third generation (Steve) and fourth generation (Alec) Smith continuing the legacy that started back in 1918.

We’re going to dig a little bit deeper in the unique history of Turlock Fruit Company – as well as their rare heirloom melons – in the next installment of our e-newsletter. For now, let’s focus on the deep nutritional value of melons and what to look for when you’re buying them the next time you visit Sigona’s Farmers Market.

Honeydew

Let’s start first with honeydew. Our honeydew that’s tasting magnificent right now is packed full of vitamin C, which of course is great for giving your immune system a turbo boost. This orange-fleshy goodness is a mighty anti-oxidant and provides your body with potassium (essential for proper cell function). You might be surprised to know that folks with high potassium levels typically have blood pressure lower than their peers, hence another reason to go melon crazy this summer.

My person favorite right now is the orange flesh honeydew. While it looks somewhat similar on the outside to typical honeydew, the inside color, taste and smell is actually more reminiscent of cantaloupe. Find one with a cream-colored rind and sugar-packed aromas and you’ll be enjoying yourself in no time.

Cantaloupe

If you’ve been disappointed with cantaloupe up until now you can’t miss with our current crop. This is truly the time of year to go for it.

Cantaloupes are a classic fruit loaded with vitamin A and C. The vitamin A will help you to keep your visor laser-sharp; for women who are pregnant, it will assist with developing and growing the little tike inside of you.

Cantaloupes are also a good source of:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Niacin
  • Fiber

Speaking of fiber, did you know that the average American only consumes around 14 grams per day? This falls far short of the recommended daily intake of 20-38 grams. With fiber so essential to digestion (and preventing not-so-fun issues such as constipation, hemorrhoids and inflammation of the digestive tract), why not get your daily dose through delicious and healthy tasting cantaloupes!

What to Look For

Something we see every now and again in the store are folks who aren’t exactly sure which honeydew or cantaloupe to select. They know these fruits and healthy. They know they taste sugary-delicious. But sometimes they all look pretty similar. If you don’t know what to look for, it can be like sticking your hand into a fish bowl, pulling out a random raffle ticket and hoping it’s a winner.

That’s why if you stick to these basic tips the next time you’re in the store, you’ll be going home with a prize every single time:

  • Melons should have just a slight give when you squeeze them. Are they hard as a bowling ball? Move on and look for another.
  • Look for ones that are as blemish-free as possible.
  • A sugary aroma should waft into your nostrils as you smell them.
  • Once home, run the melons over cold water to clean off any dirt.
  • It’s smart to store them in the fridge right away. Cover them in plastic and consume within three days.

With melon season looking so phenomenal right now, we’ll be talking in our next e-news about heirloom varieties you won’t find at just any grocery outlet. You’ll learn how Turlock Fruit Company has kept these amazing fruits popping out of the ground for decades on end and why you need to try them as soon as humanly possible.

In the meantime, don’t forget to try out our recipes for Sweet Local Orange flesh Honeydew with a Drizzle of Reduced Balsamic as well as Local Melon Red Wine. We’ll guarantee you’ll be in melon heaven!

July 11, 2012

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local Stone Fruit

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Stone Fruit

One of life’s great pleasures is biting into a ripe, fresh and sweet piece of stone fruit. Whether it’s a peach, plum, apricot, nectarine or additional hybrid, local stone fruits are wonderful whether eaten out of hand or in a crisp salad.

Out of Hand

OK, so maybe this isn’t exactly a recipe, but we bet you can’t resist the temptation of holding a delicious piece of stone fruit in your hand without chomping down into it to enjoy those sweet, succulent flavors. Nothing beats eating fresh stone fruit right out of hand.

Ingredients

  • Sigona’s stone fruits from Sweet Home Farms
    • Peaches
    • Nectarines
    • Plums
    • Apricots

Directions

  • Select your stone fruit of choice
  • Raise to mouth
  • Bite into the best-tasting fruit in the entire Bay Area
  • Enjoy!

Honey Vanilla Fromage Blanc

I love this quick and simple recipe, especially on warm summer days. The raspberry topping is the perfect complement to Sweet Home Farms’ delectable stone fruits. Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces fromage blanc
  • 2 TBL heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Honey Hole Wild Apricot or Blackberry Honey
  • 4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
  • Vanilla seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Assemble Using:

  • Sigona’s fresh stone fruits, including Diamond Ray nectarines, Ice Princess and Snow Princess peaches and Santa Rosa plums
  • Berries such as raspberries and strawberries
  • Citrus fruit such as oranges, cut in segments
  • Raspberry Sauce

Directions:

  • Stir the fromage blanc, cream, honey, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and vanilla seeds together in a medium bowl.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • To assemble, spoon the fromage blanc mixture into shallow bowls. Place the fruit artfully on top and drizzle the dessert with raspberry sauce.
  • Serve with extra raspberry sauce on the side.

Raspberry Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 basket of raspberries rinsed
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 2 tsp. Honey Hole Wild Apricot Honey

Raspberry Sauce Directions:

  • Place the ingredients for the raspberry sauce in a blender
  • Blend until smooth use as a topping

Carmelo’s Simple Stone Fruit Salad

Simple, delicious and incredibly good for you. No wonder this basic stone fruit salad has become one of my most favorite dishes!

Ingredients:

  • One of the following stone fruits:
    • Diamond Ray nectarines
    • Ice Princess peaches
    • Snow Princess peaches
    • Santa Rosa Plums
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • A sprinkling of raspberries

Directions:

  • Slice the stone fruit and mix with all ingredients except raspberries
  • Plate and top with raspberries

Peach, Plum or Apricot Raw Stone Fruit Cobbler

Nothing beats a refreshing and sweet cobbler, especially when stone fruits are perfectly in season as they are right now. This healthy treat is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.  Recipe courtesy of About.com.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds (5-6 cups) of Sweet Home Ranch’s peaches, plums, nectarines or apricots pitted and cut into 1” chunks
  • 2 TBL of Honey Hole Wild Honey
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup walnut pieces
  • ½ cup pecan pieces
  • 5 large medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg or mace
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  • Gently toss the fruit with the agave and vanilla extract. Divide the fruit amongst 4 dessert glasses and set aside.
  • Place the remaining ingredients (coconut, walnuts, pecans, dates, almond extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt) in a food processor and pulse the mixture until it is coarsely ground but still has texture.
  • Divide the mixture between the 4 berry dishes, scattering evenly over the top to form a thick crust.
  • The crisp can be served immediately or chilled.
  • Serves 4

Home Sweet Home Ranch

Home Sweet Home Ranch

Sweet Home Ranch farmer Paul Buxman places nature and family first to provide you with the sweetest, most perfect stone fruits in the entire Bay Area!

By Robbie Sigona

Sweet Home Ranch farmer Paul Buxman

“You know how I stay cool all day on my tractor in 100-plus degree heat,” Paul Buxman asked me from his Sweet Home Ranch in Dinuba, CA just south of Fresno. “I place a towel under my hat and fill it full of ice every hour. The cold water just drips down onto my head and shoulders. Sometimes I’m cold even when it’s 112 degrees out!”

The only things more delicious and sweet than Paul’s humor are the nectarines, peaches, plums and additional stone fruits his farm grows on his 55 acre ranch.

That’s because unlike fruit that may be stored for up to three weeks and picked green, produce from Sweet Home Ranch is plucked from branches at the peak of ripeness. Then, in the blink of an eye, it’s delivered and placed on our shelves here at Sigona’s for you and your family to enjoy. With produce that fresh, no wonder it’s bursting with so many exquisite flavors.

Having forged a close friendship with Paul over the years, I know one of the things he prides himself on the most are his growing techniques. Every piece of produce from his farm is certified California Clean. In a nutshell this basically means that all his succulent fruits are grown sans organic or synthetic pesticides. While Paul’s produce may not be certified organic, his unique and intricate growing techniques are still environmentally friendly and yield the best-tasting fruits you’ve ever had.

Before I could practically finish asking Paul his opinion on which stone fruits are looking especially good right now, he exclaimed excitedly, “The Diamond Ray nectarines! It’s packed full of calcium, zinc and additional minerals that your body craves.”

Having tasted these beauties myself, I can personally attest that you’ll want to try one the next time you’re in the store. I’d also highly suggest the Snow Princess and Ice Princess peaches as well. These fragrant white-flesh peaches possess floral notes with a touch of honey and rose.

Paul says that his peaches are about as perfect as they can be right now due in large part to ideal climate conditions. “While they’re roasting out there in the Midwest and the East, we’ve had a relatively mild summer here so far with only a few days over 100. All early ripening fruits prefer 90-degree weather, which we’ve had, and this allows for 2 to 3 more days on the trees to give them those flavor profiles that people expect and love.”

Sweet Home Ranch is constantly striving to attain the perfect peach, plum, nectarine and more. From tweaking watering patterns to pruning techniques, Paul leaves no leaf unturned.

Paul is equally attentive and dedicated to creating a nourishing family environment for his workers. This enables them to live and thrive as vibrantly as the peaches that are eventually picked from the trees.

“There’s a huge labor shortage in the farming industry right now. This is because the system currently requires six to eight weeks of hard labor, but then workers are laid off. That’s no good,” Paul stated emphatically. “So we find ways to have our employees working year-round – along with two months of vacation for them to travel and visit their families.”

To counter those days of “dead time” when most employees would be laid off, Paul and his wife Ruth diversify their peachy portfolio by making precious preserves. This off-season work increases the amount of days his employees can be compensated for their efforts.

Along with providing his employees with a steady stream of income, Sweet Home Ranch also makes sure its valued workers are surrounded by a safe environment. You might be astonished to know that when it finally gets just too darn hot out there, Paul sends his workers home – paid! “What’s more important: the loss of a few peaches or the potential for heat stroke? Without our workers we’re nothing.”
Sweet Home Ranch now has employees that have been with the company for over two decades. Many of these loyal folks now have kids working for the company. (Hey! That sounds just like Sigona’s Farmers Market!)

As Paul so eloquently put it, “It really is heaven on earth here, except for days when it’s 110 degrees out.”

We look forward to seeing you in the store this summer for the best stone fruit you’ve even tasted. And don’t forget to check out our recipes, including Honey Vanilla Fromage Blanc and my Uncle Carmelo’s Simple Stone Fruit Salad.

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: Stone Fruit

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: Stone Fruit

  • Stone fruit should have a slight give if you want to eat them right away.
  • Store them in the fridge if it’s breaking or ripe and they should last four or five days. If it’s firm then leave them on the counter for a day or two until ripe and ready to eat.
  • For Diamond Ray yellow nectarines, there are a lot of “sugar dots” as Paul Buxman likes to calls them. They have a bit of a crude look but are fantastic. The more of these sugar dots the better.
  • You want to pick a nectarine (or a peach for that matter) with a nice yellow background. I always like to turn my fruit over and look at the stem end to get a true indication of the color. It’s not the red blush color that you are looking for.
  • And of course, you’ll want your stone fruit free of bruises.

Robbie Sigona is our produce buyer. He works with local farmers and scours the market for the very best in fresh fruits and vegetables — some you won’t find anywhere else.

Free Local, Farm Fresh Pastured Eggs from Wattle and Comb in Pescadero, Calif.

Click coupon for an easy-print version

June 27, 2012

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: Corn

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: Corn

  • Getting corn from local farmers is great because it’s fresh. The sugars in corn start to convert to starch as soon as it’s picked, so corn is sweeter and more tender the fresher it is.
  • Produce pros recommend leaving husks on the ears until you’re ready to cook, but we do offer the convenience of husking at our stores.
  • Choose corn with husks that are tightly wrapped, grass green and slightly damp. The corn silk showing at the top can be dry but not rotting. The ends should appear fresh-cut.
  • Keep corn in the fridge until you use it.
  • Although it will hold up in the fridge for 5-6 days, it’s always best to eat corn as soon as possible after purchase.
  • Corn is best from May through September.
  • White corn is typically sweeter than yellow corn.

Robbie Sigona is our produce buyer. He works with local farmers and scours the market for the very best in fresh fruits and vegetables — some you won’t find anywhere else.

Get Grillin’ with Local, Fresh-Picked Corn

Get Grillin’ with Local, Fresh-Picked Corn

Shuck it, grill it, put it in a salsa — one of the summer favorites is arriving daily at our stores and it doesn’t get any sweeter than fresh-picked. Plus, get a free tote of corn just in time for the 4th of July!

By Robbie Sigona

Ah, summer. Barbeques send swirls of mouth-watering scents through the air, kids run through sprinklers, you favorite fruits are now coming from local growers and iced tea is brewed in the summer sun. Speaking of barbeques, did you know you can cook almost anything on the grill? This includes corn on the cob. There is no reason to heat up the kitchen more than it already is by boiling a large pot of water. Just throw those cobs on the barbie!

Corn is fantastic when grilled, whether it’s left on the cob or sliced off to be used in salsas, salads or other dishes. We have some delicious corn recipes on the blog, including Green Beans with Roasted Corn and Green Onions inspired by Food Network’s Guy Fieri.

Let’s Get Corny

Did you know that a stalk of corn only produces one good ear? It’s true! Our local farmer John Spina only harvests the biggest and best ear from the stalk. Or how about this: did you know you really only need to let corn swim in boiling water for about 2 minutes if that’s the cooking method you choose? Well, corn doesn’t really need to be cooked at all before you eat it – in fact, if you’re in the employee room during corn season, you might just see a Sigona peel back the husks and start eating an ear of corn as is…no cooking required.

There’s nothing like fresh-picked corn on the cob, either dressed up with a smear of butter and a dusting of salt & pepper, or grilled and incorporated into a summer salad. Judging by the popularity of our corn display the majority of you agree. We get daily deliveries of white corn from our friend John Spina of Spina Farms in Morgan Hill. The corn is picked in the morning and delivered to our stores in the afternoon so we have fresh corn every day.

Such a quick turnaround is significant because fresh corn is sweeter. This is because once picked, the sugars in corn begin converting to starch. Same with asparagus. Moral of the story: corn is best eaten as fresh-picked as possible.

One of the biggest myths about corn is that it needs to be cooked for a long while before it’s edible. Even the freshest ear, when cooked too long, can taste starchy and stale. Grilling corn allows its natural sugars to caramelize, which adds another layer of flavor and makes for a more chewy texture. Again, just don’t keep it on the heat for too long. Slice the grilled corn off the cob and incorporate it into a citrus-based salsa and you’ll be the talk of the town!

Meet the Farmer

We’ve worked with the Spina family – John, his father and his son (all named John) – for nearly 40 years. They have a small produce stand of their own in Morgan Hill, too, and used to buy some items from us at our old roadside fruit stands along Old Monterey Highway…back when we were called Coyote Berry Acres. A lot has changed for us since then, but our relationships with farmers have stayed the same. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for our local farmers.

John Spina

John Spina of Spina Farms

Corn got a late start this summer, just like most California produce, but John says the stalks are doing well now and should be in steady production until November.

“We have 150 acres on which we’re growing a few different varieties of white corn this season,” said John. “We grow different varieties each year to find which respond the best to the conditions and farming techniques. Quality is very important to us and we pick only when the corn is at its peak so Sigona’s and its customers get the best.”

In general, white corn is more tender and sweeter than yellow corn, which has a more chewy texture and hardy corn flavor. My Uncle Carmelo remembers when white corn was a rare find in markets; it wasn’t until the 1970s that the demand for white corn grew and farmers began planting more white than yellow. Until that time, yellow corn was the norm – Golden Bantam was popular in the 1950s and Golden Jubilee was the rage in the late 1960s.

In addition to white corn, Spina Farms grows peppers, tomatoes, beans, squash, Indian corn and 67 (yes 67!) different varieties of pumpkins and gourds, many of which you’ll see decorating our stores come fall.

The Spina family also operate the Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch on their farm in the fall, featuring train rides on the Spina Pumpkin Express, hay ride tours of the pumpkin patch and Indian corn field, pumpkin decorating and more. It’s a great destination for the family in the fall and it’s open beginning the last weekend in September through the month of October.

Remember to take advantage of the coupon we’re offering this week…just in time for your 4th of July celebrations! Bring in your coupon and when you spend $30 or more you can walk away with a free tote bag full of corn. Also make sure to check out our recipes for corn, such as Sautéed Corn with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil and Fresh Corn Salad with Black Beans, Tomato and Cilantro.

June 26, 2012

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local Corn

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local Corn

Fresh-picked corn lends itself to a corn-a-copia of delights…sorry, couldn’t resist! Whether on the cob or shaved off and stirred into a dish, don’t miss out on one of summer’s sweetest foods.

Grilled Corn Salad with Lime, Red Chili and Cotija

Grilled Corn Salad

Grilled Corn Salad with Lime, Red Chili and Cotija. Recipe and photo courtesy of The Food Network.

I absolutely love grilled corn in a number of dishes. What I love about this one most is that it’s all done on the grill! No mess to clean up in the kitchen. Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay of The Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 8 ears fresh corn, silks removed, husk on, soaked in cold water 30 minutes
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, such as Arbequina
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 TBL ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated cotija cheese
  • 1/4 cup Queso Fresco, for garnish

Directions: Heat grill to high. Grill corn until charred on all sides, 10 or so minutes. Take off the grill and remove the kernels with a sharp knife. While you are cutting the corn, put a cast iron skillet on the grill to heat.

Add the corn and the remaining ingredients to the hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until creamy and heated through.

Sprinkle with crumbled Queso Fresco once the dish is plated.

Green Beans with Roasted Corn and Green Onions

green beans corn and tomato

Green Beans with Roasted Corn and Green Onions. Photo and recipe courtesy of The Food Network.

The simplicity of this dish makes for an easy weeknight side or potluck dish for your next summer get-together. Recipe adapted from Guy Fieri of The Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh green beans, such as Blue Lake beans, ends cut
  • 2 corn on the cob
  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, such as Arbequina
  • 1 red onion, large, cut in 1/8-inch rounds
  • 1/4 cup white wine, such as chardonnay
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 1/4 cup diced, seeded Roma tomatoes
  • 3 TBL grated Sigona’s Bio Parmesan cheese

Directions: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and blanch for 3 minutes. Remove from water and put into an ice water bath. Drain.

Heat grill or gas burners. Place cleaned corn on the cob on the grill or burner. Turn corn and lightly brown all the way around. Let cool and slice the kernels off the cob.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add oil, after 45 seconds add onions and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, add green beans, corn, and garlic. Sauté for 4 minutes, deglaze with wine, season with salt and pepper, and butter.

Garnish with Roma tomatoes and Parmesan.

Fresh Corn Salad with Black Beans, Tomato and Cilantro

corn cilantro salad

Corn Cilantro Salad

Delicious with tortilla chips or as a salsa to top grilled Tilapia, local halibut or white seabass this salad is always a hit. Courtesy of Laura H., a Sigona’s fan. Serves about 4.

Ingredients:

  • Juice from 2 limes, about 4 TBLs
  • 4 TBLs olive oil
  • 2 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • A 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Kernels cut from 1-2 ears of white corn (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes (use an assortment of halved cherry tomatoes or use 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • Half a bell pepper, seeded and diced (look for an orange one to add color to the dish)
  • 3 TBLs minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (or to taste)
  • Optional: top with diced or sliced avocado when ready to serve.

Directions: In a bowl whisk together lime juice, oil, garlic and salt to taste. Stir in remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Let salad stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let flavors develop. Laura recommends making it the night before.

Corn Ice Cream

This recipe comes from Frontera Grill in Chicago, one of the nation’s best known Mexican restaurants, owned and operated by Rick Bayless who’s widely respected as one of our countries premier chef’s and an expert of Mexican cuisine. Makes about a quart.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 (1.5) cups corn kernels
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 (.5) cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 (.5) tsp vanilla
  • 1 pinch of ground cinnamon

Puree the corn with the half-and-half until as smooth as possible. Push the puree through a sieve or strainer to remove big chunks. Put corn puree, sugar and yolk in top of a double boiler and whisk together, cooking and stirring until thickened and starting to steam, about 180ºF. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and cool. Stir in cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Chill until cold and then churn in an ice cream maker according to directions.

Sautéed Corn with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

A summer staple in my house that is incredibly easy to throw together and a great side dish to grilled meat or fish. Serves 4. Adapted from “Joy of Cooking.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (use a variety of tomatoes for added color)
  • A few leaves of basil, sliced thin (use scissors to snip)
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 TBL butter
  • 1 TBL cream, optional

Cut the corn from the cob. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the corn kernels and cook for 1 min. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another minutes until juices start to run. Stir in salt, pepper, basil, and cream. Serve.

Keep it on the cob.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

For an impressive presentation, peel back the husk – don’t remove it – to remove the silk. Pull the peeled husk down to the bottom, creating a handle. Take one of the outer husk leaves off and trim it to a thin strip. Use the strip to tie the peeled back husks together with a bow.

Heat grill to medium heat, oil the grates and place the ears directly on the grates. Turn several times as the corn cooks. Keep it on the grill for about 10 minutes or until the husks are charred and are beginning to peel. Serve corn immediately along with butter, salt and pepper. You can also use spiced or herbed butters. Recipes follow.

Boiled Corn on the Cob

  • Use about 1 quart of water per ear of corn
  • Salt

Directions: Bring salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook for 2-4 minutes. Remove corn using tongs and shake off the extra water. Serve with butter, salt and pepper.

Not-So-Plain Corn on the Cob

Following are a few fancy butter spreads that add fantastic flavor to corn on the cob. Each ingredient combination is enough for about 4 ears of corn.

Herb’s Favorite

  • 3 TBL butter, softened
  • 1 ½ TBL of fresh herbs, such as a combination of parsley, basil, tarragon, chives, sage and chervil

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

Honey Butter

  • 3 TBL butter, softened
  • 1 TBL Honey Hole Honey Co. honey or organic Agave nectar

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chili Butter – Or – Chili-Lime Butter

  • 2 TBL butter, softened
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • For chili-lime butter, add grated peel of ½ of one lime. Add more if desired.

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

Lemon & Dill Butter

  • 3 TBL butter, softened
  • 1 tsp fresh dill weed or ½ tsp dried
  • Grated peel of 1/2 lemon
  • Pinch of white pepper

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

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