What’s the difference between a salad and a salsa, besides the language? The difference is “sauce” (which is what salsa translates). With the end of summer and the end of fresh corn nearing, I was craving corn to form the basis of salad number four in my five course salad night … and I wasn’t looking for corn salsa. And I wanted the corn to really be the centre of the salad and not just a filler as it might be in the more ubiquitous bean salad. The challenge was to remove the ‘sauce’ but still keep the salad moist and flavourful.
The solution? Grill the corn after boiling it to draw out more of the sugars (much like the technique I used in my previous Fennel and Orange Salad) and to use seeded tomatoes (which wouldn’t get mushy or ‘wet’) … and, finally, use some fresh lime whose acidity would elevate the sweetness of the corn, give the salad a refreshing crispness, and help draw the flavours of the ingredients all together.
The result is a simple salad that packs a layered punch … and which still beat out the watermelon and fennel salads as Anne’s favourite on the night. My only cooking tip: do NOT overcook the corn (which so many do anyway) and use the hot grill to quickly infuse those essential “grilled” flavours. Finally, let the grilled corn fully-cool before ‘zipping’ it … this will allow the natural sugars and juices of the corn to suck back up into the kernels before you cut them loose … and avoid ‘dry’ corn.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15
Total time: 30 minutes
Roasted Corn Salad
- 3 fresh ears of corn, husked and cleaned
- 1/2 cup of red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup of Shishito peppers, diced
→ or substitute 1/2 mild green pepper with 1/2 a jalapeño
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- grating of fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup of fresh tomatoes, seeded, skinned, and chopped
(approximately 1/2 lb tomatoes)
- 1/2 fresh lime, juiced
- Preheat grill to 400ºF and place a large pot of water on to boil on the stove.
- Cut a thin, shallow cross in the bottom of each tomato and once the water comes to boil, place the tomatoes in the water before turning temperature down. Keep tomatoes in the water until the peels start to ‘lift’ where you cut them (approximately 1-2 minutes depending on variety). Remove from water (but don’t throw away water) and place tomatoes in cold water to chill.
- Meanwhile, return water to boil before adding the corn and then boil for 5 minutes. Remove to plate and lightly drizzle with olive oil, making sure all corn is covered.
- When grill has come to temperature, place the corn on the grates and grill for 3 minutes; rotate corn one-third and grill for 3 more minutes; rotate another third, and grill for a final 3 minutes. Remove to plate to fully cool.
- Meanwhile, your tomatoes should be cool. Remove skin with your fingers, cut into quarters and remove core and seed sacks and discard. Chop tomatoes and add them to a non-reactive bowl.
- Clean and dice the Shishito and red peppers and add them to bowl. Dice the onion and it as well.
- Remove cilantro leaves from the stems and coarsely chop and add to salad.
- By now the corn should have cooled. Using either a corn “zipper” (see picture of this amazing little tool) or a sharp knife to remove the corn kernels and break them up as you add them to the bowl. (If using a knife, careful not to cut the cob to close.)
- Add extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and freshly squeezed lime juice. Toss.
Taste for seasonings and then cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving.
- Remove from fridge 20-30 minute before serving with some of the minimal liquid that will have formed. Enjoy.