July 2, 2012

Grilled Corn Salad with Avocado and Vine Ripened Tomatoes

IMG_8316Summer is a great time to stretch our limits with salads beyond lettuces. The fruits and vegetables that peak in the heat are all worthy of providing hearty, flavorful, and mouth watering side dishes worthy of taking center stage. That is part of the reason people tend to eat lighter and healthier during the summer months. Even though menus this time of year at home and in restaurants feature grilled meats, burgers, and other fatty foods, we tend to pair them with fresh and satisfying vegetables and salads that steal the show.

This salad made with grilled corn and fresh vine ripened tomatoes is one of those dishes that outshines what it is there to compliment. It is a delightful combination of crunch, sweetness, and tang harmonized by vegetables that are both raw and grilled. It is scrumptious. Serve it with grilled fish, poultry, meats, or something like portabella mushrooms for vegetarians. It would also be delicious served on a bed of lettuces; bibb lettuce, arugula, or romaine would be the best choices.

I wrote a post recently about grilling fresh corn. In that post, I suggested wrapping the corn in parchment paper and aluminum foil before putting it on the grill. That is a great thing to do when corn is not at full peak and the produce people clean the husks away from the cobs for more alluring displays. But when corn is heaped high in farmer's markets and produce bins at the grocery store reflecting summer's harvests, there is too much for them to tackle and most of the corn is fully wrapped in its husks. Grilling corn in its natural wrapping is the absolute best way to do it. It is simple, efficient, and produces the best results.

Grilled Corn Salad with Vine Ripened Tomatoes and Avocado
Serves 6
For all of the ingredients, please use only those that are organic or pesticide free.
 
4 ears corn, unhusked
1 1/2 cups sugar plum tomatoes, halved (cherry tomatoes or any vine ripened tomato cut inot bite size pieces will be good)
2 small avocados, cut into bite size chunks
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lime zest or lime juice (optional)
  sea salt, maldon, or other finishing salt
  freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
 
Grill the corn just as they are wrapped fully in their husks over low heat. Turn after about 15-20 minutes. After about 30-40 minutes cooking time, they outer husks will have started to turn brown. Use a towel to hold the corn and carefully peel back the husks, but keep them loosely wrapped around the cobs. You can certainly peel them back fully if you prefer more browned or charred kernels. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and continue to grill for another 10-15 minutes.
Use a large knife to slice the kernels off of the cobs. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl or serving bowl, combine the corn kernels, tomatoes, avocado, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Gently stir to combine. Taste for seasoning. Add the lime zest and/or juice for more zing. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve at room temperature.

 

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Categories: From The Garden, Salads
 

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