Corn-Tomato Salad with Tapenade

Did I need another French cookbook? A resounding NO, but when I read about this one, Dinner in French by Melissa Clark, published in 2020, I knew I would love it.

I love personal stories, so the introduction in this book was a great read. Ms. Clark tells the story about how her Great-Aunt Martha and Uncle Jack “dragged” her parents to Europe, and they fell in love with France. After she and her sister were born, the annual trips to France continued, sometimes renting houses, other times exchanging houses, which allowed them to stay put for a month AT A TIME, in various regions of France.

Ms. Clark writes about her cooking, “It’s all right there, rooted in my New York-Jewish-Francophile DNA. And my cooking ends up playfully and unmistakably French. At our house, the conversation might be in English, but dinner’s in French.”

According to Ms. Clark, “This salad is all about the contrast between the sugar-sweet corn and the salty olive tapenade. Since many commercial tapenade shamefully neglect to include anchovies along with the olives and capers, I like to make my own.” I do as well.

I did learn a trick from the author. She suggests microwaving whole corn cobs, 5 minutes for four. I simply wrapped them in a towel first. What I didn’t expect was that the husk part came off in basically one piece. No corn silk with which to deal. Fabulous trick.

Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad with Tapenade

For the tapenade dressing:
1 1/2 cups pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
4 ears fresh corn, cooked, kernels sliced off and reserved
1 pint red cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
3/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

Flaky sea salt, for serving
Sliced baguette, for serving

Combine the olives, basil, parsley, capers, oil, lemon zest and juice, anchovies, garlic, and pepper in a blender. Pulse to form a coarse paste. Taste, and add more lemon juice if it tastes flat.

Toss the corn kernels, tomatoes, red onions, basil, and parsley together in a large bowl. Fold in just enough tapenade to coat the vegetables.

Sprinkle the salad lightly with flaky sea salt, and serve it with the remaining tapenade and some bread alongside.

There is actually quite of bit of tapenade “dressing” for this salad, so you can always spread it on the bread while enjoying the salad.

I also think white beans would be really good in this salad, along with the corn and tomatoes.

But as it is… fabulous. And a great idea to use tapenade as a base for a dressing. I added a bit more lemon juice.

This salad would be a perfect picnic salad, served alongside grilled chicken, ham sanwiches, or sausages.

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Ron August 20, 2020 at 7:44 AM - Reply

    Looks lovely Mimi. I’m with you and Melissa Clark, I’ll be making the tapenade as I’m not fond at all of the jarred stuff. As you suggest, I’m seeing this fine salad with a piece of grilled chicken and a meal is born…

    • chef mimi August 20, 2020 at 9:52 AM - Reply

      Absolutely! That would be delicious. And yes, I bought jarred tapenade once, and it was inedible.

  2. Our Growing Paynes August 20, 2020 at 9:53 AM - Reply

    This is beautiful. Great trick about the corn as well.

    • chef mimi August 20, 2020 at 9:53 AM - Reply

      And it works so well. I’ve done it a couple of times since I followed this recipe.

      • Our Growing Paynes August 20, 2020 at 9:54 AM

        Oh I’m sure. Tricks like this are always good to have.

  3. chef mimi August 20, 2020 at 9:53 AM - Reply

    I don’t need any more cookbooks in general, but I seem to keep buying them!

  4. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen August 20, 2020 at 9:59 AM - Reply

    Perfect for the season! I’ve not thought about tapenade and a corn salad, but it sounds divine!

    • chef mimi August 20, 2020 at 10:48 AM - Reply

      It really was. A wonderful combination.

  5. cookingwithshy August 20, 2020 at 10:13 AM - Reply

    This is such an interesting recipe Mimi…Love that you have used a tapenade over this corn salad!

    • chef mimi August 20, 2020 at 10:48 AM - Reply

      Isn’t that a great idea? And not just on top, and tapenade as part of a dressing!

  6. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats August 20, 2020 at 11:42 AM - Reply

    Store bought Tapenade is indeed inedible. They definitely not use best quality olives. Great idea, to pair it with this colorful salad. :)

    • chef mimi August 20, 2020 at 1:47 PM - Reply

      The tapenade as a salad dressing was a brilliant idea. I’m stealing that idea!

  7. Mary August 20, 2020 at 10:36 PM - Reply

    Mimi, you have changed your photo again. I miss your lovely smile!!

    This recipe sounds yummo! Always make my own tapenade and I microwave corn in their husks – so easy, no messing around with towels etc. Mother Nature provided the cover.

    • chef mimi August 21, 2020 at 5:11 PM - Reply

      You know, I get tired of women on Instagram who I follow because they’re in my age range, and they photoshop their faces. So this is me, right out of the bath tub. I don’t wear makeup, but I always wear lipstick. Plus I’d just taken out my contact, so I needed my readers. So that’s me. As I am! I really should take a smiley one…

  8. sherry August 21, 2020 at 3:19 AM - Reply

    great idea to make your own tapenade. commercial ones are so … boring.

    • chef mimi August 21, 2020 at 5:12 PM - Reply

      I bought one last year that sounded interesting, and my friend and I couldn’t eat it. Ugh.

  9. Eva Taylor August 21, 2020 at 4:02 AM - Reply

    I just bought about ten Ontario cobs to grill later today to freeze, this will be a wonderful salad for dinner! We love tapenade but I’ve never put anchovies in it, LOVE anchovies so I’m definitely taking your advice!

    • chef mimi August 21, 2020 at 5:08 PM - Reply

      Hahahaha! It’s a fabulous combination – anchovies and olives. And the tapenade as a dressing is really wonderful.

  10. sippitysup August 21, 2020 at 9:49 AM - Reply

    I like you don’t need a new cookbook but this book has caught my attention several times. This salad and your words seal the deal. I’m buying it. GREG

    • chef mimi August 21, 2020 at 3:17 PM - Reply

      I bookmarked quite a few recipes, which doesn’t always happen with cookbooks. I’m excited to try more!

  11. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons August 21, 2020 at 1:53 PM - Reply

    I love that cookbook, and that’s the way I cook corn as well. A single ear cooks in 3 minutes. It’s amazing how easily the silks just fall off.

    I haven’t tried this salad yet but it will definitely be on my list.

    • chef mimi August 21, 2020 at 3:16 PM - Reply

      Good to know! It’s such a great trick. And it’s good to know you love the cookbook.

  12. David Scott Allen August 21, 2020 at 2:38 PM - Reply

    So beautiful and colorful. And I have been a huge fan of microwaving corn for years – a different method but it all seems ot work the same. such a time (and water) saver!

    • chef mimi August 21, 2020 at 3:09 PM - Reply

      I’ve never heard of this trick before, but I’m so glad i have now. Better late than never!

  13. Tandy | Lavender and Lime August 21, 2020 at 11:37 PM - Reply

    That’s a great tip for the corn. I will try it out for sure. Love your salad bowl and I also always make my own tapenade.

    • chef mimi August 22, 2020 at 2:32 PM - Reply

      The microwave tip is fantastic! I’ve been buying corn on the cob just to keep doing it!!!

  14. Jeff the Chef August 22, 2020 at 11:59 AM - Reply

    That corn trick is so interesting, that I’m wondering why people are always telling you to remove the husks! I’ve got a couple ears on the countertop that I’m going to use to try that out! Thanks! Also, corn and olives – a combination I’ve never tried! Thanks for that, too!

    • chef mimi August 22, 2020 at 2:31 PM - Reply

      Yeah, it’s really a fantastic recipe. The salad is great, but the tapenade dressing was really fun. Someone commented that it’s 3 minutes for 1 ear of corn. It’s amazing how well the microwave trick works!

  15. chef mimi August 22, 2020 at 2:30 PM - Reply

    Thanks! I love beans so much, so I tend to add them to just about everything – soups, pasta, salads!

  16. cookingontheweekends August 23, 2020 at 12:55 PM - Reply

    What a delicious and beautiful salad! I’ve been using so much fresh corn lately so I’m very happy to learn this microwave trick to remove the husks! Trying it tonight. :-) ~Valentina

    • chef mimi August 23, 2020 at 2:41 PM - Reply

      You’ll be amazed. I love this trick. I keep cooking corn just so I can do it this way!

  17. Raymund August 23, 2020 at 4:07 PM - Reply

    Sounds really amazing! I can taste the tapenade from here. So drooling jsut imagining its salty flavours

    • chef mimi August 23, 2020 at 4:11 PM - Reply

      Yes! And as a dressing it works really well, especially because of the saltiness paired with the sweet corn and tomatoes!

  18. August 24, 2020 at 3:45 AM - Reply

    You often remind me of food I’ve tasted in restuarants but never made at home Mimi. Like Tapenade. Thanks for the recipe and the delicious fresh corn and tomato salad part too!

    • chef mimi August 24, 2020 at 9:47 AM - Reply

      It’s really fun to make tapenade at home because you can use different kinds of olives, spice it up, add sun dried tomatoes…. whatever suits you!

  19. David @ Spiced August 24, 2020 at 7:23 AM - Reply

    Interesting trick with microwaving the corn! I hate how that silk gets everywhere when I peel corn. Also, this recipe sounds fantastic. The tapenade really takes this to a whole new level!

    • chef mimi August 24, 2020 at 9:46 AM - Reply

      I know, it’s nearly impossible to pick up! This is an amazing trick. You’ll be so happy!

  20. Liz August 24, 2020 at 7:31 AM - Reply

    We’ve gotten some marvelous sweet corn this year and your salad will be a new way to showcase it! Looks wonderful!

    • chef mimi August 24, 2020 at 7:33 AM - Reply

      It’s truly a unique and wonderful salad with the sweet corn, and tapenade turned into a dressing.

  21. Gerlinde August 25, 2020 at 8:21 AM - Reply

    I am a fan of Melissa Clark’s recipes. The tapenade looks great and I am definitely going to make it.

    • chef mimi August 25, 2020 at 8:35 AM - Reply

      Good to know. the combination of this salad and dressing was really wonderful.

  22. Laura August 25, 2020 at 1:44 PM - Reply

    What a gorgeous salad, Mimi! I love that corn trick, and I also think your suggestion of adding white beans is brilliant! In my book, that would make this a complete meal! Yummm!!

    • chef mimi August 25, 2020 at 2:02 PM - Reply

      Thank you! I love beans, and put them in a lot of dishes. Even pastas. This salad is fabulous. Hope you get a chance to try it.

  23. Kelly | Foodtasia August 25, 2020 at 4:49 PM - Reply

    Mimi, such a wonderful recipe! I wouldn’t want to miss the anchovies in tapenade and microwaving the corn is brilliant!

    • chef mimi August 25, 2020 at 4:59 PM - Reply

      Have you done it? I’ve been cooking a lot of corn because the microwaving trick works so well!!!

  24. Katherine | Love In My Oven August 25, 2020 at 9:15 PM - Reply

    What a great trick for the corn! This salad is perfect for a warm August day.

    • chef mimi September 5, 2020 at 12:01 PM - Reply

      I keep microwaving corn because it works so well! The salad is fabulous.

  25. Karen (Back Road Journal) August 29, 2020 at 1:42 PM - Reply

    I would not have thought to mix and corn and tomato salad with tapenade. I’m so glad you shared the recipe Mimi. Microwaving the corn whole is a trick my husband found out about while we were living in New England and it works great.

    • chef mimi August 29, 2020 at 3:01 PM - Reply

      It’s a great trick. Yeah, I guess Melissa Clark knows a few things! It’s a great salad!

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