September: It’s Not Late Summer Without Tomatoes and Corn

Summer may be a distant memory, but eating fresh, local seasonal food is what memories are made of. We wait all year for juicy, succulent tomatoes and the crunch of Ontario corn. They are great on their own but also compliment each other perfectly. The Challenge for September was to come up with a recipe using fresh Ontario tomatoes, or corn, with a bonus for using both.

We’ve already seen Culinary High Skills Major Sam Fuda (Chef Sam) strut his stuff on these amazing videos he has been putting together for his Challenge team at St. James High School in Guelph, and once again, he’s hit it out of the park. If you’ve never tried Panzanella, it’s a Tuscan dish that was created to use up leftover crusty bread, and it’s one of my favourite things to eat in the summer. The technique of this simple recipe results in all the flavours blending with the juices of the tomatoes to soak the bread, and it’s nothing short of culinary bliss!

It’s almost gilding the lily to add crispy corn fritters to the plate, but the fresh flavours of the salad balance perfectly with these little fried morsels bursting with sweet Ontario corn.

Thanks for sharing your recipe and video, and congrats to St. James for yet another amazing Monthly Challenge submission, and for scoring full points, plus a bonus.

Recipes:
Corn Fritters

3 cups oil for frying
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp. shortening, melted
1 (12 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1. Heat oil in a heavy pot or deep fryer to 365°F (185°C).
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Beat together egg, milk, and melted shortening; stir into flour mixture. Mix in the corn kernels.
3. Drop fritter batter by scoops into the hot oil, and fry until golden. Place on tray with parchment and finish in oven at 375°F for 5-7 minutes.

Sundried Tomato Aioli

Juice from 1/2 a lemon
6-8 sundried tomatoes
2 tbsp. sundried tomato brine
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processer and blend until smooth

Panzanella

3 cups halved & quartered heirloom tomatoes
2 tbsp. green onions
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. minced basil
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 thinly sliced red onions
2 cups stale cornmeal bread
3 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
olive oil
balsamic reduction
salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, olive oil, and the reduced balsamic to your taste. Mix thoroughly and serve.

October Challenge: There are more to pumpkins than just Jack-o-lanterns (although those are fun too). When you consider a pumpkin can be prepared as either a fruit or a vegetable, there are so many possibilities to create a great recipe. Create an interesting menu item using pumpkin for 10 points.

Follow the Local Food Challenge on Ontariofresh.ca, and on Twitter @ontariofresh, #LFC2014

- Kelly Hughes, Education and Outreach Specialist