Bon Appétit (July 2016)
"You haven't been to All Purpose?"
"OMG how have you not had the fried chicken at Maketto yet??"
"Surely you guys have done the tasting menu at Kinship?"
"Pineapple and Pearls? You haven't even been to Pineapple and Pearls???"
We haven't been to any of these buzzy Washington, D.C., restaurants.
The truth is, we just don't eat out very often. We've never been huge restaurant-goers, but recently it seems like we've been eating out even less. Why? We've just gotten a little, well, bored with it.
Look, living in a great food city -- which Washington became at some point in the past 5 or 10 years -- is amazing. We are thrilled to live somewhere where so many awesome chefs are doing amazing things with amazing ingredients in amazing spaces.
But it can also become a bit of a blur. There's always an amazing chef. There's always a new place you haven't tried. (The oldest of those restaurants we mentioned up top opened only about a year ago.)
Increasingly, we find ourselves wanting to save dining out for a special experience. And the fact is, you don't have to go out to have a special dining experience.
Which brings us to this corn salad.
As salads or side dishes go, this one is pretty simple: It's essentially charred corn and some other ingredients just tossed in a bowl. But the flavors are fantastic. The sweet grilled corn gets a nutty crunch from the toasted hazelnuts, and the lemon-orange vinaigrette is nice and bright. And the fresh mint and tarragon are spot on.
In fact, it's exactly the kind of seasonal dish you could imagine seeing on a restaurant menu. (For $14.)
Don't get us wrong: We love going to restaurants. And while we haven't been to any of the ones mentioned above, we have in recent months hit up several buzzy D.C. places: The Dabney, The Riggsby, Tail Up Goat, Alfie's.
But when you can make things in your own kitchen that are as delicious and as impressive -- and as easy -- as this corn salad, well, it's easy to get excited about eating at home.
(That being said, okay, yes, we're dying to go to Pineapple and Pearls. Soon!)
How much are you eating out these days? What places are on your restaurant bucket list? Let us know in the comments!
1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts
4 ears of corn, husked
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ounces Pecorino Toscano, shaved
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
1/4 cup coarsely chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon Aleppo-style pepper
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
Meanwhile, prepare a grill for medium heat. Cut kernels from 1 corn cob into a large bowl. Add garlic, orange juice, vinegar, and lemon zest and toss to combine; season with salt. Set aside.
Brush remaining 3 ears of corn with oil and grill, turning occasionally, until very tender and charred and blackened in spots, 10–12 minutes. (Alternatively, remove kernels from cobs and cook in a dry large skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until charred in spots, about 4 minutes.) Let cool.
Cut kernels from cobs and add to reserved salad; add hazelnuts, Pecorino, mint, tarragon, and Aleppo-style pepper and toss to combine. Season with salt.