mexican corn salad

Sunlight filters through the security door as I sit listening to the low hum of the air-conditioner on the wall. It’s the final week of October and… well, I think Summer is well and truly on the way. Yesterday the barometer hit 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and today’s predicted to be 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit). Definitely the right weather for icy mojitos, trips to the beach and dinners on the balcony as the sun dips beneath the trees.

If you’re one of those nice people who read my last post, you might remember that I contemplated starting a new Summer recipe series. Well, this is the first installment of that series, which I’ve entitled ‘Summer Salads’ for the sake of giving it a name. At my house, salads are eaten all year round, mostly due to the fact that we’re fortunate enough to have mild winters here in Western Australia. Due to this fact, I’ve developed an obscenely large repertoire of salads, both warm and cold, the latter of which I’m going to be sharing with you over the pending Summer months.

Today’s salad is one that I’ve made (possibly) hundreds of times, mostly due to the ease of assembly and the fact that it goes fantastically well with everything from grilled fish to barbecued chicken, tortillas and tacos. I’ve called it a ‘Mexican Corn Salad’ as it’s core ingredients echo those found in many Mexican recipes… but with a slight alteration of ingredients you can transform it into any corn salad you like. I’ve included some of my own variations below, which I hope will be welcome additions to your recipe repertoire over the Summer months. However, as with all of my recipes, I’d encourage experimentation… just remember that with salad recipes, freshness, colour and a balance of ingredients is the key to success.

Mexican Corn Salad

Serves 4

  • 2 ears of corn, husked
  • 1 avocado, peeled and roughly chopped (or scooped out of the skins with a spoon)
  • 1/2 small Spanish (red) onion,  finely sliced
  • 1/2 punnet (about 150g) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice from 1 lime (or lemon)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (use less if you can’t tolerate chilli)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Place your corn cobs in a medium saucepan on the stovetop and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, then drain and immediately refresh in cold water to stop the cooking process. When your corn cobs are cool enough to handle, place them upright onto a chopping board and use a sharp knife to remove the kernels (see below). Place the kernels into a medium-sized bowl to continue the cooling process.

Once your corn has sufficiently cooled, add your remaining vegetables to the bowl. Mix together your lime or lemon juice, lime zest, olive oil, salt and pepper in a screw-top jar. Replace the lid and shake briefly. Taste and adjust as necessary (if you find that your dressing is too acidic, you can add in a little bit of honey). Pour over your salad and toss to combine.

So that’s your finished salad. For a Mexican-style feast, I’d suggest that you serve a spoonful wrapped in warm flour tortillas with some sliced grilled chicken, guacamole, shaved queso manchego viejo (delicious Mexican hard cheese, substitute with Cheddar or Parmesan) and some herb-infused sour cream. To make the lemony, herby sour cream, just place about 100ml of sour cream into a bowl and add in the juice of half a lemon, freshly chopped mint and coriander, a pinch of dried mint, a little ground cumin, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Top with a drizzle of lemon oil, then dollop over your tortilla filling. Deliciously easy and a great crowd-pleaser.

Notes:

  • As above-mentioned, this salad is very open to adjustments and substitutions. To keep with the Mexican theme, you can feel free to add in some sliced red peppers (capsicum), finely chopped cucumber or grated cheese. To transform it into a more traditionally Australian salad, omit the tomatoes, lime, Spanish onion and chilli, then substitute in some quartered baby beets, crumbled feta and sliced spring onions. The dressing stays the same, except that I’d recommend using lemon instead of lime. This is a delicious accompaniment to barbecues.
  • If you’d like to serve this salad as a main meal with some grilled chicken or fish, just add in about half a cup of cooked white quinoa or brown rice. Double the dressing, and add in a squeeze of honey for sweetness. This is great with a spoonful of the herb-infused sour cream on the side.
  • Another delicious serving suggestion is to pile a spoonful of this salad into a taco shell with fried ground beef or Chili Con Carne, grated cheese and some herb-infused sour cream. Add salsa or guacamole as desired.
  • The normal ratio of oil to acid (vinegar or citrus juice) in salad dressings is 3:1, however in this recipe I’ve reduced the oil component as I like the freshness of the vegetables to be unobscured by oiliness. Test your salad and adjust it to suit your personal taste.
  • There’s no replacement for fresh corn in this salad. Frozen and canned corn kernels will do in a pinch, but they won’t have the sweet juiciness that fresh corn kernels have. If you’re going to use frozen corn, I’d suggest cooking the kernels as briefly as possible to prevent them from becoming waterlogged.

So that’s the first installment of my ‘Summer Salads’ series completed… check back here in a couple of weeks for the next recipe: Baby Beet Salad with balsamic onions, goat’s feta, soft herbs and toasted walnuts.

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16 responses

  1. I’m excited about this series, I won’t have to get you to text salad recipes to me in the early hours anymore!! Woohoo ;-) can you incorporate that impromptu salad we made one night with the Asian dressing, I need that in my repertoire! Love !! X

    • Haha, yep I sure can. Other recipes that I’m thinking of adding include the mint, pomegranate & quinoa salad, the (famous) chickpea salad, my version of potato salad… any others you remember? Love right back atcha! xx

  2. I bought a pomegranate for this sole purpose, I hope it grows!! I’m making this Mexican stuff today, almost all of it, very excited!!

  3. Yum. I might try this for my party. So far I have a two vegans and a vegetarian someone that can’t eat garlic (or smell or even be in the same room as food containing garlic…which means I have to make stuff like pizza from scratch).

    • Ah, I have quite a few vegan-friendly recipes up my sleeve! It’s quite funny actually… I eat absolutely everything, but yet I have pretty much the whole assortment of friends: vegan, gluten-intolerant, vegetarian, lactose-intolerant, vege phobic and… well, just plain picky people! Hm, would you like me to make some salads? I’ll make anything you like dearest, since it’s your birthday. Yes, including that gee darn golly gosh awesome cake xx

      • My coeliac friend can’t attend, which makes things a bit simpler. I would not be catering for these “vege-phobic” people if I were you. That does not sound like a legitimate food sensitivity!

        I’d love for you to make a salad. I do not expect you to make multiple items for my party! I’ll probably make a couscous salad, buy a big platter of sushi, BBQ some sort of meat, make some vanilla cloud cookies and a pink velvet cake. Hmm and something for the kiddies. Oh, and these cupcakes: http://www.raspberricupcakes.com/2012/10/chocolate-olive-oil-sea-salt-cupcakes.html

        Plus breads, chips, dips and cheeses. If people want more they can fend for themselves. (I don’t think there will be 70 people there.) I’ll also make sure there’s a cucumber for G&Ts (and Pimms)!

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  5. I’m obsessed with corn. I’ll even open a can of corn and eat only that for dinner. (Weird, right?!) But of course, nothing beats fresh corn on the cob. (Great picture, by the way). This salad sounds so delicious right now. It’s also making me miss summertime!

    Btw- I just that you’re read your from WA. I have two cousins that moved there, and now live in Dunsborough and Quindalup.

    -JulieC

    • Haha, I know exactly what you mean Julie! I love corn (especially if it’s coated with cheese, lime juice and hot sauce, fresh off the grill… I pretend I’m somewhere in Mexico!). Dunsborough is a beautiful part of WA. Did you see my post on Buttermilk Corn Fritters? I wrote it whilst in Dunsborough for the weekend, a few weeks ago! I’ve never been to Quindalup. Let me know if you ever come down this way, would be lovely to take you around my ‘neck of the woods’!! x

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