½ cup basil oil or 2 tablespoons basil pesto mixed with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cooked corn kernels (cut from 3 large cobs)
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
24 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large, just-ripe avocado, cut into chunks
½ teaspoon salt
ground black pepper

When choosing corn cobs look for fresh husks and light brown tassels. If the tassels are very dark brown and shrivelled, you can guarantee the corn will be over-ripe and not nearly as sweet. This salad makes a great side dish for barbecued meat or poultry. You can use frozen or canned corn, but in summer it’s really nice to use fresh corn.

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1.Toss all the ingredients together and season to taste.
2.The prepared salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 hours.
3.If you plan to store it for longer than this, add the avocado at serving time.
4.Return to room temperature before serving.
6.Place 2 cups basil leaves in a bowl and cover with boiling water to wilt.
7.Drain at once and refresh the leaves under cold water.
8.Drain again thoroughly, place in a food processor with ½ teaspoon salt and 1 cup grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil, or a mixture of both, and purée until smooth.
9.You can strain off the solids through a fine sieve, but I don’t bother as I like the texture a little rough and rustic.
10.Basil oil keeps for up to a week in the fridge or can be frozen for later use. Makes 1½ cups.


This is an edited extract from The Free Range Cook by Annabel Langbein.