Grilled Summer Corn Salad

This past weekend in my “Fresh from the Market” class here in Savannah, I had a guest who said that “Blue Rhino” is one of his most commonly used ingredients when cooking (in other words he grills everything!).  Nothing wrong with that…there are great meals to be had from the grill, not just this time of year but year round.  Sure, that might mean scooping a path through the snow but if there’s a will, there’s a way.

Summer eating tends to have a lighter casual style to it than the way we eat in Fall and Winter.  Partly because we’re busy with lots of things from socializing to trying to stay cool.  The grill of course is a natural focal point as we’re often outside socializing, working in the yard, or perhaps having a cookout in a destination away from home.  As long as Blue Rhino is giving you a hand, you might as well get as much bang for your buck as you can…go ahead and grill off items for several meals at once.

This weekend while shopping at the store I was distracted by large, plump, fresh ears of sweet corn.  With our discussion of grilling in my mind and a secondary focus on salads, I decided to pick some up and concoct a salad to go with a protein that was yet to be determined.

Salads of various styles (except greens due to getting wilted and soggy) make for the casual on-the-fly eating that we tend to do during summer.  Make up a large batch of one or more salads during your weekend and you’ll have healthy and filling side items that only need a grilled meat, seafood, or poultry item for a quick and satisfying meal.

Corn and salmon have always been a favorite combination of mine so I opted for some beautiful wild-caugh Sockeye salmon for the rich flavor that it would contribute to balance the lighter flavors of the salad I concocted from my “Fresh from the Market” inspiration!

Grilled Summer Corn Salad - C

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Grilled Summer Corn Salad

The sweetness of the corn really shines through in this salad. Grilling the scallions (green onions) gives them a milder flavor and different texture. This is a light, bright, and refreshing salad that’s perfectly paired with a grilled steak or fish for a light summer supper. The dressing will have the best consistency if you use an immersion blender or regular blender to emulsify it. If a blender is not available, whisking the oil in by hand will also work but the garlic will need to first be finely minced.

Yield: 8 Servings
3 ears sweet corn
1 bunch green onions
1 yellow or orange bell pepper
Olive oil for grilling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup olive oil

Preheat grill on high for 15 minutes.

Husk the sweet corn. Rinse under cool water and wipe off to remove any stray corn silks. Place corn on a large plate. Wash green onions, trimming off the roots and 1-2 inches of the top if it’s fibrous. Place onions on top of corn on the plate. Drizzle onions and corn with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Using your hands, rub the ears of corn and onions to coat with the oil. While hands are oiled, rub the bell pepper to oil the exterior as well. Place the pepper and corn on the grill and grill until lightly charred, turning to cook all around. Green onions can be grilled on an upper shelf. When corn is lightly charred all around, onions are slightly limp, and the bell pepper is blackened all around, remove vegetables from the grill.

Set vegetables aside to cool while making the dressing.

In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, combine all of the dressing ingredients EXCEPT the oil. Stir or whisk vigorously to help the salt dissolve in the lime juice. Add the olive oil and emulsify using an immersion blender. If an immersion blender isn’t available, put all of the ingredients in a regular blender jar and blend until slightly thickened and emulsified. If whisking by hand, be sure to mince the garlic finely and combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl before slowly drizzling in the olive oil while simultaneously whisking. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Standing the corn upright, cut the kernels from the cob and place in to a large mixing bowl. Slice the green onions into 1-inch lengths and add to the salad bowl. Using paper towels, rub the blackened skin from the bell pepper and dice into 1/2-inch chunks. Add the roasted pepper, grape or cherry tomatoes, and the cilantro to the salad bowl. Pour dressing over the top of the vegetables and toss to mix well. Serve immediately or for best flavor, refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Allow salad to warm to room temperature before serving.

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