Corn-Tomato Salad with Tapenade

52 Comments

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.

52 thoughts on “Corn-Tomato Salad with Tapenade

  1. 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…

  2. 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.

    • 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…

  3. 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!

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

  4. 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

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

  5. 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!

    • 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!

  6. 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

    • 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!!

    • 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.

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

  10. 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.

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