I’ve recently come up with a theory that we all have an internal compass that steers us through the year with the weather as a guide. Before I moved to Bangkok I was fascinated by The Elements of Life, a cookbook full of Thai recipes and recommendations for eating according to the “element” to which you are naturally inclined (it’s a really interesting idea). In the introduction to the book Su-Mei Yu says that, after years of living away from Thailand, she craved the dampness of the rainy season in which I now find myself. It’s a time of year when you never feel completely dry.
I’ll never fully understand her longing for a rainy season, but I can relate to a craving the seasons you know the best. Her climate compass was off because she lived in California. Just as mine is out of sorts now that I live here. Sometimes it takes me a moment to remember the month or the next holiday. There are no swimming pools opening or hints of briskness in the air, no leaves falling or smell of snow to serve as mile markers along the way.
The best cure I’ve come up with, you won’t be surprised to hear, has to do with food. Eating foods that celebrate the seasonal trends of my familiar North American climate is a subtle but deep reminder that summer back home is reaching its peak.
Corn is basic summer fare. I like mine mildly sweet and starchy and sometimes speckled white and yellow. I don’t have as much room to be choosy on what I buy in Bangkok, but the corn here is abundant and satisfies my seasonal craving.
This salad is my latest favorite way to serve it. The bacon is crisped in a pan and then the corn is cooked in just a bit of bacon fat in the same pan. It takes a few minutes but gives the whole salad a subtle savory flavor that is perfect with sweet, crisp corn.
My seasonal compass is re-finding its version of “north”. And north includes bacon, corn and avocados.
- 4 ears corn, husks and silks removed
- 6 strips bacon
- 1 red pepper, finely diced
- 1 large avocado, diced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- juice squeezed from 2 limes
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cut the kernels off the ears of corn and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the strips of bacon to the skillet and cook on both sides until the bacon is crisp, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-topped plate to cool. Drain off all but about 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat from the skillet and put it back on the stove over medium heat.
- To the hot skillet, add the corn kernels, and leave them without stirring until they start to sizzle, 1-2 minutes. Continue cooking the corn, stirring occasionally, until it is cooked through and most kernels have started to brown in spots. Transfer to a large bowl. Refrigerate the corn until cool, at least 30 minutes.
- Just before serving, combine the corn, red pepper, avocado, cilantro, and lime juice. Crumble the cooked bacon over the top and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.