The best dinners happen by chance.

We spent today (July 4th) at Assateague National Seashore. Heading home, we made a pitstop in Hebron, MD, at Oakley’s Farm Market. We didn’t need any green beans or squash, but the sweet corn and tomatoes looked fine. Why not have a dinner of grilled corn and burgers, topped with those luscious tomatoes?

We got home, and the heat index was over 100. I wasn’t going to stand outside over a hot grill. Neither was my husband, judging by the beeline he made for the couch and remote control. The boys disappeared into the subterranean cool of the basement, so dinner was obviously my affair. And heat was not on the menu.

So I started to play. I sliced four of our lovely tomatoes and put them in a serving bowl. Then I headed outside to the garden and picked about 1 cup of basil and 1/2 cup of parsley. Chopped those herbs up roughly and added them to the tomatoes, along with 3 sliced scallions.

Because the big boy has braces, we have to slice the corn off our cobs. I did that with 3 ears of corn and ran my knife over the naked cobs to get all the corn milk I could. Then I heated 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan, added 1 large chopped garlic clove and sauteed for about 30 seconds. Added the corn and its milk, salt and pepper. After about 2 minutes, I threw the hot corn in with the tomatoes, scallions and herbs, then added 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Warm corn and tomato salad! The heat from the corn brought out the mineral notes of the parsley and the sweetness of the basil. It softened the tomatoes and scallions. If we’d had it, we could have topped the concoction with feta cheese for a riff on creamed corn. But for a last-minute, think-fast dinner, it was perfect.

Independence from the grill! Now, that’s a Fourth worth celebrating!