Toasted Corn Salad
This side or salad is a rip off of Yucatan street food where you get a coal burned cob seasoned with chili spices and lime and butter. With a beer, it’s lunch, or at least a late afternoon snack.
50 Salads for Everyday Eating:
#4 Toasted Corn Salad with Mint in a Lime Cumin Dressing
They always say “write what you know” but that’s hard to do because often we don’t know what we know and we’re in constant pursuit of bigger, more elaborate themes -– drama, sabotage, despair, love – anything that might make our life worthy of being writerly. We forget the details that make our lives “ours” and we lose sight of the significance of the smaller gestures we make, the ones that are genuinely our own.
Occasionally we pull back and get a glimpse of the small, monumental, meaningful things that keep our lives moving forward and for me that’s food. It’s what I see, what I’m inspired by, what I make, what I harvest, what I eat, what I carry with me wherever I go. I’ve worked a lot of jobs over the years and I had a revelation a while back that it wasn’t what I was doing at these jobs that held significance or import or effect, it was the food I ate every day. People asked me about things, what is that, they’d say, or how do you make that, and then one by one they’d be trotting by my desk showing off homemade salads. Look, they’d offer, look what I made today. It was hugely gratifying. Just like when I worked as a chef at an art retreat centre for a few summers and some of the guests were terrified of a vegetarian meal but then as the days wore on and the lively, colourful buffet was devoured, they’d come into the kitchen and say, ‘I liked that, that bit of wonder with the whatever in it, how did you make that?’ And then my blog was born and I kept writing about salads and eating large amounts of goodness and here, grate this, chop that, toss a bit of this in too, and you might find happiness like I have in a simple harvest.
In the summertime, when I visit my folks in Creemore, we eat from the land. They have plots of gardens and we dig up potatoes and beets, pluck beans and tomatoes, trim the lettuce patches and harvest whatever herbs look healthy and ready to go. In August, we eat a lot of corn. It’s sweet and tender and easy; we toss it on the grill or in the oven or boil a few cobs. But it’s also a perfect ingredient for any time of year. Frozen corn can be revitalized by steaming it and then toasting it in a hot skillet with oil until it browns, caramelizes, becomes chewy and perfect.
This side or salad is a rip off of Yucatan street food where you get a coal burned cob seasoned with chili spices and lime and butter. With a beer, it’s lunch, or at least a late afternoon snack. And it’s pretty much one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
Cooked corn taken off the cob and tossed with fresh herbs, baby tomatoes, spices like toasted cumin, and tossed with coarse sea salt and olive oil or butter is a wondrous thing. Although corn is good with squash or beans in a chili, tossed into a creamy risotto, or made into a polenta cornbread, it’s also pretty magnificent on its own two sweet feet.
Toasted Corn Salad
- corn kernels
- cumin seeds
- pinch of cayenne or chili powder
- lime juice
- halved grape tomatoes
- fresh mint or basil or cilantro
- maybe a bit of queso fresco or crumbled feta
- hardy romaine leaves
- Roast fresh (or frozen and steamed and drained) corn kernels in a hot skillet with a little oil. Toss with cumin seeds. Let the kernels brown and caramelize and then stir. When the aroma of the cumin hits the air, add a pinch of cayenne or chili powder and some lime juice. Turn into bowl and scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan.
- While still warm, add things like halved grape tomatoes, fresh mint or basil or cilantro, maybe a bit of queso fresco or crumbled feta.
- Serve over arugula and toss so the leaves wilt a bit. Or mix with hardy romaine leaves and enjoy the contrast.