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Mucho Gusto

Grilled Corn Summer Salad

The perennial 4th of July menu: hamburgers, hot dogs, with a side-act accompaniment of corn on the cob. While the Independence Day tradition carries an abundance of nostalgia that our taste buds savor, I’d argue that even the classics yearn for an upgrade. 

Of all the summer staples, I have always found a hassle with corn on the cob. Butter dripping down my face, an awkward turn of the cob, and far too many kernels getting stuck in my teeth. For me, eating corn on the cob always tastes like indulgence at an uncomfortable expense. And cutting the corn off the cob with a plastic knife on a flimsy paper plate is always a challenge. Plus, the act of doing so guarantees to be followed by the glares of those who ask, “What are you, five-years-old?,” and the subsequent arrival of my blushing cheeks that can prelude white and blue. 

This grilled summer corn salad promises to please those who want to refurbish their neighborhood cookout spread, or those who simply have wrestled with tricky cobs of corn long enough, like myself. The best thing about corn on the cob is that its preparation is effortless. This fresh corn side remains easy to make, serve, and most importantly, easy to eat. 

This dish introduces a hint of lime and cilantro, which along with a slight bite of red onion perfectly complement the fresh flavors of the corn.  Red bell peppers and sweet cherry tomatoes add substance and a variety of textures to the salad, creating the perfect spoonful. For spice-loving crowds, chopped jalapeño can be woven into its fresh flavors, and for those who want to transform the side into a centerpiece, the dish superbly matches with a bowl of cold orzo pasta. The recipe that I introduce below is a wonderfully simple rendition of the dish, yet it is easily adaptable to any occasion.

Ingredients:

5 ears of corn

1 red bell pepper

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup red onion, diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper

1 lime

¼ cup of cilantro

Preheat the grill to 425 ℉. Shuck a few layers of the husks—the leafy green covering—off the five ears of corn. Leaving a couple of thin layers on, wrap each ear in tin foil and place on the grill to cook on each side for about four minutes. Once cooked, uncover the corn ears from the tin foil and place them directly on the grill for two minutes on each side to lightly blacken the kernels. Remove from the grill and place on a plate to cool. Without a grill, you can also easily prepare the corn by placing it in a large, tall pot of boiling water for roughly six minutes. 

Dice your peppers, red onion, and halve your cherry tomatoes. Once the ears of corn are cool, cut the corn off of the cobs by placing the narrowed end of the ear on your cutting board and slicing downward with a large knife perpendicular to the cob. Make sure to break up the kernels from one another after cutting. Place the ingredients in a large serving bowl.

Drizzle olive oil and squeeze the lime over the fresh ingredients. Add salt and pepper and toss the corn salad to make sure it is evenly coated in the olive oil and lime juice. Chop up the cilantro and mix it through the dish. Serve and enjoy!

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