To begin, soak your favorite wood chips to prep them for the grill. I used apple wood this time, but there are assorted fragrant wood chip varieties available at Whole Foods, Home D, pot and many other stores. They should soak about 30-60 minutes while you’re preparing the corn salad ingredients.
Char the outside of a red or yellow Bell Pepper. This can be done directly over a gas stove flame, in the oven or on a grill. Just turn it over to char it on all sides until blackened. Then, pop it into a sturdy bag and close it up for the steam to do its work. Once the pepper is cooled, the skin should easily peel off and you can chop it into little cubes (~1/4″ each).
Everyone seems to have a favorite way to cook and shuck corn–just use the method you prefer. Here’s what I did… Cut the bottoms and very tops off the corn with a very sharp knife while its still in the husk. Pop it into the microwave (husks intact) for five minutes a batch. (On this occasion, I used 20 ears, so they didn’t all fit into the microwave at once.)
While the corn is pre-cooking in the microwave, I heated up my outdoor grill; drained the wood chips and placed them in a cast iron skillet in the closed grill while I continued to prep the other ingredients.
I like to keep summer fresh tomatoes on hand, but on this occasion, I was out of them so used some sweet cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters. Chop up some red onion or–even better–pickled red onion*, to taste. (To pickle your red onion, simply boil some vinegar of your choice with a bit of sugar and pickling spice. This keeps nicely in the fridge for a week or two.)
* Here’s an easy quick-pickling recipe from The Kitchn, one of my favorite recipe sites.
In a large skillet, melt equal parts of butter and grape seed oil; then, coat your ears of corn before placing directly on the grill rack. Rotate your corn as it begins to char a bit, but be careful not to overcook it. The secret to this yummy corn salad is sweet, juicy fresh corn.
Once the corn is cool enough to handle, use a corn stripper or a sharp paring knife to remove the kernels from the cob.
I bought the Zyliss brand corn stripper (photo to the right) from my local Sur La Table, but there are several brands available in many well-stocked kitchen supply stores.
Once your corn cobs are stripped, place the kernels in a bowl with your chopped vegetables (Bell Pepper, tomatoes and [pickled] red onion; toss lightly with your favorite selection of appropriate spices*.
* I love the many unique selections by Max’s Degrees, available at many Maryland Farmers’ Markets or online at MaxsDegrees.com. This time, I used their Hot Cherry Lime Rub and added Birch Smoked Salt, one of the many varieties available at Whole Foods Markets, but there are also many varieties online at Amazon and at your favorite specialty food stores.
Trader Joe’s also offers a nice Chili Lime spice blend. Alternatively, you can squeeze some fresh lime juice, add a hint of Chipotle spice, a touch of EVOO, and salt & pepper to taste. Our philosophy at SisterFeast is to give you the basic idea and let you make it your own favorite dish.
I served it with a side of freshly crumbled Feta Cheese and topped the salad with freshly chopped cilantro.
I made this Grilled Summer Corn Salad for my nephew Thomas and his darling bride-to-be Gina’s engagement party last night. It was a big hit–they even added it to hot dogs at the end of the evening.
Ingredients (amounts will vary depending on how many you are serving)
- fresh summer-ripe corn (in the husk)
- Bell Pepper (yellow, orange or red)
- tomatoes (farm-fresh, preferred; cherry tomatoes will work fine, too)
- red onion or pickled red onion, chopped
- equal parts of melted butter and grape seed oil (if handy; EVOO can be substituted)
- Max’s Degree Hot Cherry Lime Rub or your preferred spices
- smoked salt, to taste
- optional: a squeeze of fresh lime and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- freshly crumbled imported Greek Feta Cheese (served on the side)
- soak a couple of handfuls of fragrant wood chips in a bowl of water (30-60 mins.)
- cut both ends of corn, leaving husk in place; cook in microwave 5 minutes
- char your sweet pepper on all sides; place in sturdy paper bag to steam off skin)
- drain wood chips and add to cast iron pan or wood chip box; place on grill
- heat grill with lid closed
- cut tomatoes and chop red onions (or pickled red onions, preferred)
- take cooled pepper out of paper bag; remove skin; deseed and cut into ~1/4″ cube
- removed husks from microwaved corn
- melt butter and oil; coat each ear of corn; place on platter for grill
- lightly char the corn on the grill, turning to “color” each side while being careful not to overcook it (keep it “sweet & juicy corn”)
- remove from grill to platter to cool
- once cooled, strip the kernels from each ear of corn (I do this over parchment paper and add to bowl in batches)
- add chopped vegetables
- season to taste
- add coarsley chopped cilantro
- serve crumbled Feta on the side with a bit of cilantro for added color
Best of luck making this your very own favorite summer corn salad!