When I figured out a few years ago that raw white corn was just as good as cooked white corn, I promptly quit cooking it. I’m all about expedience, and in general, raw foods are better for you than cooked ones. It turns out my, “I refuse to cook corn” position was at tad limiting, and maybe even narrow minded (no, say it isn’t so). Roasted corn is a whole different beast from raw corn and lends a totally different flavor and character to dishes. This is a great summer salad that looks and tastes like July and August – though these days you can buy corn nearly year round. Grab some white corn from your local market, or better yet, the farmer’s market and make this terrific salad.
Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad (eight small side servings)
- 4 ears of white corn, husked and washed
- 2 cups of tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup sweet Vidalia or Maui onion, finely diced
- 8-10 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon canned, diced green chilies
- salt & pepper to taste
Heat your BBQ on its highest setting. Brush the corn lightly with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Spray your grill surface with vegetable spray (Pam). Place the corn on the grill. Grill the corn until approximately 20% of the kernels are black. You really want to roast the corn, not just cook it through. The salad will have much more flavor and character if you take the time to fully roast the corn. It will take 20-25 minutes to do this and if you’re at all like me, you’ll be tempted to pull the corn off of the grill sooner just because you’re impatient and have too many other things to do. Do what you must to resist the temptation. Do a little Zen breathing. Reorganize your closet. Whatever you need to do to get through it is fine by me.
In a medium mixing bowl toss together the roasted corn, diced tomatoes, onion, basil, lime juice, and chilies. Adjust the salt and pepper. I find it takes approximately ½ teaspoon of salt and a full teaspoon of finely ground pepper. Serve immediately. This salad can sit in the fridge for up to three hours before serving. Longer than that and the basil will wilt. You and I both know, wilted basil is quite déclassé and should be avoided.