August is here and we are taking full advantage of summer’s bounty – filling our farmers’ market bags and bellies with amazing local produce. At peak flavor right now are two favorites – corn and tomatoes. So, I brought them together in a simple, salad that’s packed with flavor.
While I adore sweet and crunchy local corn, I’m one of those people that hate to eat it on the cob in public. Seriously, having corn stuck in my teeth makes me crazy and I need to immediately floss. It’s kind of like Julia Roberts character in Pretty Woman. Thus when it comes to picnics or cookouts with a crowd, I offer to make a corn salad. This way I can enjoy the corn and not have to deal with floss. A corn salad gives me all the wonderful flavor without the mess or stress. I just cook the ears, cut the kernels off the cob, and toss with any variety of other fresh ingredients for a hearty side salad.
You can certainly boil the corn, but ever since I discovered the amazingness of grilled corn, I can’t go back. (You can check out my Quick Tips for Grilling Corn.) This allows the kernels to get slightly charred, drawing out their inherent sweetness and adding a subtle smoky flavor.
For this recipe, I then combined those sweet charred kernels with bursting cherry tomatoes, garlic, tangy blue cheese, fresh rosemary, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. You could toss in some chopped grilled chicken and turn this side salad into a meal in and of itself. It also stores well, so you could easily make it a day ahead of time for your next summer picnic or cookout.
Grilled Italian Corn Salad
- 3 ears of corn
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 tablespoons blue cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt, to taste
- Soak the ears of corn with husks on and silks removed in cold water for 20 minutes. While the ears soak, heat the grill to medium (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Remove the corn from the water and shake off any excess water. Place the ears in the husk on the grill. Cook for approximately 15 minutes. Rotate every five minutes or so to keep it from getting too charred on one side.
- Wearing an oven mitt or a potholder, remove the corn from the grill. The corn is going to be hot! Grasping the bottom end of the cob, peel off the husks like a banana. Then snap off the end. Place the peeled ears back on the grill over indirect heat. Cook for approximately another 10-15 minutes, occasionally rotating, until the kernels are lightly caramelized.
- When most of the kernels are lightly caramelized, remove from the grill. Let it cool for a few minutes.
- Stand the cooled ears of corn up in a large bowl. With a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the cob.
- To that bowl add the halved cherry tomatoes, minced garlic, minced rosemary and blue cheese.
- Pour in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt to taste.
- Stir to combine and serve.