There is nothing more appealing than using fresh, farm-to-market ingredients, especially when corn is in season. I love this time of Summer when fresh corn is popping up everywhere - especially on my neighbor's outdoor grill. That nutty-yet-sweet aroma coming from the corn wafting into my windows as it caramelizes on the grill is oh-so distinct, and oh-so delicious. I had to get my hands on some and satiate a craving.
And it was fitting that this week a best friend of mine called and asked if I had any good "side salads" in my repertoire that I wouldn't mind sharing with her. I asked if she liked the idea of a grilled corn salad, to which she said, absolutely.
So, the idea for this simple-yet-delicious Summer corn side "salad" was born. Inspired by some great ingredients I picked up at the Farmers Market, I set forth to create this dish. And, as I don't have an outdoor grill, I did everything on an indoor grill pan.
Ingredients: (easily doubled, tripled, etc.)
- 1 ear fresh corn, husked and silk removed
- 1 medium zucchini
- handful fresh cherry tomatoes, seeded and quartered
- 1 spring onion (or red onion) small dice
- 1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh chives, chopped
- fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
(Note: this dish can be totally changed to fit your tastebuds - substitute ingredients or add more things, such as grilled asparagus, avocado, fresh torn basil, cheese, etc.)
As the grill pan heats up, slice the zucchini length-wise into about 1/2" pieces.
Then, use the extra virgin olive oil to coat the zucchini and corn before hitting the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
Next, get the veggies on the grill - the corn will take a lot longer than the zucchini, but that will allow time to cut up the rest of the veggies, and make the "dressing". Slice the zucchini into strips and then dice into 1/4"-1/2" size chunks.
As for the dressing, add the lemon juice, parsley, and chives in a bowl; pour in about 1/4C of the extra virgin olive oil, or less, to taste. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Once the corn is done, as in charred all over, remove the kernels straight into the bowl with the dressing. I prefer to do it this way, or into another bowl, as standing the ear of corn upright in a bowl as you slice the kernels off helps to keep the ear stable, plus the kernels won't fly everywhere.
Add the chopped zucchini, tomatoes, and onion to the corn and mix together, and make sure to season with salt and pepper.
And, that's about it! The grilled corn (perfectly caramelized on the outside yet still crunchy, sweet, and nutty to the taste) with the zucchini and tomatoes was perfectly balanced in texture, and the lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs heightened the beautiful flavors of such simple and perfect ingredients. I could not stop eating this.
I paired it up with my Tequila Lime Salmon from the other night, and it was fantastic.
Served warm or room temperature, this is a must for anyone while corn is in season!
I called my friend and told her the salad I had created, and her response was simply, "done and done". I can't wait to hear how it turns out for her, even adding some other items to make it all her own. This is a great way to utilize the fresh corn and other bountiful produce available this Summer, and I can't wait until the next time my neighbor lights up his grill, throws some corn down, and that aroma wafts yet again through my window as I will be prompted to make this again, and again, and again.