Now reading Corn-Barley Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Corn-Barley Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Grilled vegetables + grains + beans + herbs + fruity vinaigrette.

Tomato water and corn milk may not sound like ingredients you’d be particularly interested in eating, or drinking, but as the base of a vinaigrette, suddenly—magically?—a grain salad that has tomato in it tastes like tomato. And there’s corn, too, but the flavor is brighter and quite literally juicier. That “milk” is the sweet, starchy liquid that’s scraped from corncobs, while the tomato water is made from the rosy juice and pulp of a grated tomato. While you’re adding a few more steps to an otherwise straightforward salad, it now shouts “summer!” so loudly, we can almost smell the tomato vines.

This is excerpted from Food52’s Mighty Salads: 60 New Ways to Turn Salad Into Dinner.


Makes 4 servings
  • 1/2 C (100g) pearl barley 
  • 3 ears fresh juicy corn 
  • 1/4–1/2 C (60 to 120ml) olive oil, plus more for grilling 
  • 1 super-ripe tomato, halved 
  • 1 super-ripe tomato, halved 
  • 1 large garlic clove 
  • + Kosher salt
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1 1/2 t white wine vinegar 
  • 2 C (300g) cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 1 C (180g) cooked cannellini beans
  • 1/4 C (8g) firmly packed fresh basil, cut into ribbons 
  • 1 bunch chives, thinly sliced 
  • + your best fruity olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Bring a large stockpot of generously salted water to a boil.

  2. Add the barley to the pot and cook it according to the package directions. During the last 5 or 6 minutes of cooking, add the corn.

  3. Remove the corn with tongs. Drain the barley and set aside. Brush the corn with olive oil and grill until charred on all sides, about 8 minutes.

  4. Cut the kernels from the corncobs. As you cut the kernels, collect all of the corn milk that drips into a bowl, then use the back of the knife to scrape the remaining corn milk from the cleaned cob.

  5. Grate the large tomato on the large holes of a box grater over a wide bowl, collecting the juice and pulp. Discard the tomato skins.

  6. Place the garlic on a cutting board, sprinkle with a couple of generous pinches of salt, and finely chop and smash it into a paste with the side of a chef’s knife. Add the garlic paste to the tomato pulp, as well as a pinch of salt, the red pepper flakes, vinegar, and reserved corn milk. Gradually whisk in enough of the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.

  7. In a serving bowl, combine the barley, corn, cherry tomatoes, beans, basil, and chives. Add the vinaigrette and toss to evenly coat. Drizzle with fruity olive oil and serve.