One of the joys of summer is grilling outside. Hamburgers, barbecued chicken, steaks -- the smoky flavor and blackened grill marks give main dishes an extra boost of flavor that screams summer. To go along with these meats are many different side dishes -- slaws, beans, potato salads, pasta salads. The farmers' market is a great place to find inspiration for sides with fresh flavors that complement grilled meats.
The Bedford County Farmers' Market is full of produce to create delicious sides with that just picked fresh flavor. At the market this month are red, white or purple potatoes that make great potato salads. The small new potatoes can be boiled with the skins on and cut in half or quarters to make a great potato salad. Farm fresh eggs to boil for potato salad are also available each week.
The potatoes can also be combined with the fresh and fragrant rosemary from the market and roasted with a little olive oil.
Zucchini and yellow crookneck squash are found in abundance and can be made into casseroles, sautéed together with onions or julienned for salads. The cucumbers are here and the tomatoes are just starting for the classic summer side combo marinated in Italian dressing.
One of my favorite barbecue sides is fresh sweet corn.
The bicolor sweet corn is ready and waiting with its sweet, juicy flavor and tender kernels. It is perfect cooked in the microwave or boiled and bathed with a little butter and salt. But it is also a great component of salads. Sometimes I combine the corn kernels with cherry tomato halves, red onion and a slightly sweet cider vinegar dressing.
But most recently I tried a corn salad with a southwestern twist. It is a perfect accompaniment to any grilled meat and a good dish to take to a cookout party. The dressing uses lime juice for a little tart zing along with whole grain mustard and cilantro for that Tex Mex flavor.
For the salad mixture, I grilled my corn. I shucked it and placed the ears directly on the grate until they were slightly charred in places but the kernels were still firm. You could also grill the corn in the husks if you like it a little more cooked or you can microwave it or boil it for about 3 minutes but it won't have the smoky charred corn flavor.
Cut the kernels off the cob and combine with chopped bell peppers, sliced green onions and sliced radishes. Last week there were all colors of peppers at the market from traditional green to red and purple. Choose whichever you prefer and add a little chopped jalapeno if you like the spicy side of things!
The final ingredient is black beans. I used canned beans and rinsed off the starchy liquid before adding them to the salad.
So next time you grill out, make this tasty and easy salad to go along with your main meat.
The Bedford County Farmers' Market is open Thursdays at 3 p.m. at the Celebration Pavilion. For more ideas on using seasonal produce, visit the Bedford County Extension website, https://utextension.tennessee.edu/bedfor... . The Seasonal Eating Cooking Demonstration on Summer Fruit Basket will be held on Wednesday, July 11 at 12 noon at the Extension office. Call the office at 684-5971 to sign up and bring $5 to cover the samples.
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 ears grilled corn, cut off the cob
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
4 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
3 green onions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, whisk together mustard, lime juice, vinegar and olive oil. Add cilantro, corn, black beans, bell pepper, radishes and green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.