Though it’s a quiet summer in Santa Fe, summer is peaking. The farmers’ tables overflow with an incredible array of colorful produce, which has reignited my appetite again. From juicy heirloom tomatoes to six varieties of melons to peaches and corn, now is the time to celebrate the bounty we wait all year for–before it disappears and we are forced to live on greens and root vegetables.
What I love about summer produce is that it merely requires slicing and dicing, maybe a little salt and almost zero cooking. There’s enough heat outside that we don’t want to turn on the stove or cooktop. Thankfully, my husband is a grill man and he can grill anything like a master. He has a simple trick to grilling corn that makes it even sweeter than you can imagine.
Sweet and Succulent Summer Corn Salad
David gently removes the silks of the corn and leaves the husk so a jacket remains. This steams the tender corn and then he chars it a bit to make the kernels even sweeter.
To transform this perfectly grilled and charred corn into an idyllic summer meal, all you need to do is dice a few brightly-colored heirloom tomatoes–go with yellow, orange, red and purple for a punch of color. Grab handfuls of fresh herbs from the garden–basil, parsley and mint, and thickly slice a nice block of feta so you can control the sizes of the chunks that drop onto the grilled corn. Bite-sized pieces of tomato and herbs are lightly dressed with a drizzle of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and salt and pepper. Sweet corn and savory tomatoes pop with the herbs and the feta adds a delightfully salty note.
Add Protein for a Change
Because we served this salad as a light entree, we grilled shrimp alongside the corn which gave it another layer of summer and added a bit more heft so it felt like a meal. But you can add grilled chicken, beef or lamb would also be a good option and give it a Mediterranean spin.
Don’t feel obligated to have this salad as a meal, but know it will shine as a summery side everyone wants more of. Corn, tomatoes, herbs and feta, it’s a sensational celebration of summer in a bowl.
Grilled Corn Salad
Everything you love about summer is in this salad and it's so easy to make, this salad will likely be made several more times while corn and tomato season are here. The herbs from your garden take this side over the top and the feta makes it a bit more hearty than a salad. Add protein and make it a meal. Serve over a few handfuls of spicy arugula and you have amped up your daily veggie consumption even more.
- 4 ears corn remove the silk, but leave the husk intact
- 4 heirloom tomatoes (about 2 lbs.) choose multiple colors for an even more beautiful salad
- 3/4 cup summer herbs parsley, mint and basil
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- Sea or kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 oz block of feta this allows you to control the size of the feta chunks and create big chunks and crumbles
- Grilled protein of choice, optional shrimp, chicken, beef or lamb
Get your grill started and, once it's ready, grill the corn and, if you are adding protein, grill it now as well. When the corn is charred, remove it and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes, so you can handle it. When it's cool to the touch, remove the husks.
In a big bowl, working one at a time, cut the corn off the cob. Hold the corn vertically inside the bowl and use a sharp knife to remove the kernels. (Now save the cobs and add them to your bag of veggie scraps in the freezer which you can then use to make a fantastic vegetable broth.)
Dice the heirloom tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and add them to the corn.
Chop the herbs and sprinkle them over the corn and tomatoes.
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and lemon together. Add salt and pepper and stir to dissolve the salt and blend well. Pour over the corn, tomatoes and herbs and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
Place the chunks of feta over the top and add the protein, if using.
Serve and enjoy.