Spicy Corn Salad

August 11, 2010


Appetizers, Dinner, Local Eating, Lunch, Recipes, Seasons, Side Dishes, Summer

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This summer, I’m all about peeling and eating… I hardly bother to cook my corn, it’s so heavenly all by itself. If there’s someone else around I keep my raw cob gnawing under wraps, surreptitiously leaving one ear behind as I boil the others. I can tell mine apart because it is a little paler, and doesn’t steam on the plate. Also, it tends to have a few bite marks already, which I like to blame on mice, should anybody ask. I love the extra crunch of an un-cooked kernel. The sweetness is that much more subtle and delightful. August is a heady time for me and my maize. Now that my secret’s out, though, I guess I can stop pretending to be a normal corn eater. And anyway, I am perfectly capable of spiffing it up a bit.

In summers past, it has come with a pinch of sea salt, some parsley, butter and lemon zest. Or grilled with some spiced butter. This summer, I can’t stop making spicy corn salad, which has an incredible balance in its consistency and flavors. It’s wonderful how silky avocado seems beside kernels and cherry tomatoes. If you mix it up thoroughly, the avocado acts like a dressing, which is different from how this recipe is intended, but not at all inferior. In my case, the discovery was a happy accident, and one well worth repeating—although the end result is not as pretty as when the avocado is managed with a gentler touch.

I was first inspired to create this after eating a tomato ‘ceviche,’ at Backstreet Cafe in Houston. The name seemed odd, given how often tomatoes are served raw, but the dish was spot-on: spicy, crunchy, smooth, salty and slightly sweet. I’m always so happy to find recipes that highlight the best of summer while requiring minimal effort—maybe I should call this one corn ceviche and be bold enough to serve the kernels raw.

Spicy Corn Salad

Serves 4

4 ears of fresh corn, kernels sliced from the cob
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 jalepeno, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1 small avocado
1 T olive oil
juice of 2 limes, divided
salt and pepper

Sauté corn in olive oil until just softened, about 2 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss corn, tomatoes, cilantro and green onions and a bit of lime juice (this can be done ahead).
Just before serving, slice avocado into 1” pieces and gently toss into salad, adding remaining lime juice to prevent browning.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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One Response to “Spicy Corn Salad”

  1. By Johnell Hughes on Apr 4, 2011 | Reply

    Tried this yesterday. So fantastic. OMG it set my taste buds into overdrive. I am lazier though and I used frozen corn. As I do in pasta salads too I don’t cook the corn. It has that crunchiness to it. The cilantro also adds that freshness to it. Thanks for the great recipes.

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