This is a bizarre dish. Elisabeth Prueitt’s corn, green beans, and Parmesan reads like she couldn’t decide what to make, so she just threw a bunch of odds and ends together. The title of the recipe provides a hint, but it’s the list of ingredients that proves it. Fresh corn, green beans, corn nuts, scallions, hot sauce, olive oil, lime juice, shaved Parmesan, and nasturtium leaves… Asian flavors with corn nuts and hard cheese? It reminds me of a challenge box on Chopped; a show I’ve never gotten into because who really wants to eat bizarre concoctions? Not me.
In spite of its strangeness, this corn, green beans, and Parmesan salad is both refreshing, easy to make, and tasty. Somehow, everything comes together and manages to work in the end. I used Cholula hot sauce (the original red) and scaled the amount of olive oil from 3 tablespoons down to 2 tablespoons. Two ounces of Parmesan cheese seemed like an awful lot, so I left off at 1.5 ounces and could probably have used even less. I skipped the cilantro for Caleb’s sake and the nasturtium leaves because I’ve never seen them for sale anywhere outside of San Francisco. I can’t say those omissions caused the salad to miss out on critical flavors, there was already plenty of greenery and freshness from other ingredients.
I tend to avoid recipes that call for blanching vegetables because I’ve spent a lot of years living in apartments without a dependable source of ice (read: no ice). However, blanching the green beans is a key process for this salad and it is barely any extra work, assuming you have a decent supply of ice cubes in your freezer. After blanching the green beans, I suggest one important change to Elisabeth’s recipe: cutting the green beans into bite-sized pieces to match the corn. We all found the size mismatch in the original recipe to make for unnecessarily awkward eating.I liked this corn, green beans, and Parmesan salad better the day after making it. The green beans were still fresh and snappy, the corn was still sweet and crunchy, but the lime-hot sauce-olive oil vinaigrette had had time to come together and coat the vegetables with its tangy flavor, whereas initially it ran off without imparting as much oomph. I also preferred the salad chilled, rather than the room-ish temperature it was immediately upon assembly.
If you decide to make this ahead of time, I recommend leaving off the corn nuts until you do serve it so they don’t lose their crunch. If you are making this for someone who can’t eat corn nuts, this salad isn’t quite as interesting without them, but it’s still quite good.
Corn, Green Beans, and Parmesan
A summery salad that manages to be well-balanced while combining a variety of flavors you wouldn't normally find together.
- 6 oz (170 g) green beans or yellow wax beans
- 3 ears corn
- 2 tablespoons lime juice plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon green or red hot sauce plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 scallions
- 1 bunch cilantro optional
- 2/3 cup quicos (corn nuts, plain)
- 1-2 oz (30-55g) Parmesan
- optional: Nasturtium leaves for garnish
Bring a medium pan of water to a boil. As the water heats, prepare an ice bath (cold water + lots of ice) in a large bowl for the green beans. Rinse and trim the green beans (or yellow wax beans). Add the beans to the boil water and blanch until they become quite bright in color, about 1 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the blanched beans to the ice bath and let cool for about 12 minutes.
Shuck the corn and cut the kernels off the cob. In a small skillet set over medium high heat, saute the corn until just heated through, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium serving bowl, whisk together the lime juice, hot sauce, olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Thinly slice the scallions on the bias and add to the serving bowl. If using cilantro, remove the leaves from the stems and add the leaves to the serving bowl. Coarsely chop the corn nuts and add to the serving bowl.
Cut the cooled, blanched green beans into bite-sized pieces and then add to the serving bowl along with the sauteed corn. Toss everything together and taste, adding more lime juice if it needs some acidity, more hot sauce if you like more heat, or more olive oil for a richer side. Garnish with the nasturtiums (if using), which will add another dimension of peppery flavor. Shave the Parmesan over the whole dish, then serve.
This salad will keep in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 5 days. Over time the corn nuts will lose some of their crunch, so if you plan to have leftovers, I recommend leaving them off for people to add at will.