Corn is everywhere at the farmers market these days. This is probably my favorite time of year. While we enjoy corn on the cob roasted on the grill, we always cook more than we can eat. It is all part of the master plan. What we enjoy the most is our Corn Summer Salad.
My friend, who doesn’t consider herself a cook, introduced me to this perfect summer salad that can keep in the fridge during the week (add tomatoes just before serving), and adapt according to your taste that day. She makes a large batch for the week. Somedays she adds avocados and black beans and other days it is served simply with just corn, red onion and peppers but always with a generous squeeze of lime and dousing of fruity olive oil.
The season for fresh corn coincides with the abundance of all different varieties of peppers. My favorite are poblano. With their dark forest shade of green and crimped body, poblanos vary in intensity from mild to those with a bit of a kick. Younger poblanos are milder and later in the season they kick up the heat. It is impossible for me to know based on sight alone so I take my chances and enjoy them either way. Regardless of the heat level, poblanos have a depth of flavor minus the bitterness of green bell peppers that many people dislike. (Although, I like green bell peppers, too).
I also love the small, narrow serrano peppers that pack much more of a punch and become my favorite breakfast when sautéed with diced potatoes and mixed with scrambled eggs. Beautiful habanero peppers are something I admire from afar for their heat is beyond my ability to tolerate.
Corn Summer Salad is a thirst-quenching salad that highlights the best of summer. It’s casual like a summer day and we don’t know what we would do without it in August.
- (4) ears white or yellow corn
- Grapeseed oil or sunflower oil to season corn to prepare for the grill.
- (3) poblano and/or green, red or yellow bell peppers (about 2 cups, chopped)
- (1 ) jalapeno or serrano pepper (optional)
- (1) medium red onion or 2 small spring red onions
- (1) large handful cilantro (or basil for non-cilantro people), stems removed and chopped
- 2 limes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 15.5-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
- 1 avocado, cubed (optional)
- 1 large handful cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
- Cook the corn on the cob either by cooking in boiling water for a few minutes, or on the grill. To grill, lightly brush with oil and place on a hot grill only for a few minutes until the kernels are lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
- Core peppers and dice into ¼-inch pieces. Place into a large bowl.
- Dice onion and put into a strainer. Rinse with cold water and drain. (This mellows out the flavor so not as pungent.) Add to the peppers.
- Using a sharp knife, remove the corn kernels and add to the bowl.*
- Add the salt, pepper and cumin.
- Using a microplane grater over the pepper and onion bowl, grate the zest of the limes (just the green skin, not the white pith). Juice one lime and taste. Depending on the juiciness of your lime, you will likely need the juice of the second lime, too.
- Add the olive oil. Add black beans, if using, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Serve immediately or chill in the fridge. Add optional tomatoes and/or avocado just before serving.