August is the height of corn season in my area, but as much as I love corn on the cob, I decided to try something different for a change, so I threw together this salad. I have lived here for almost nine years now, and I still smile every time I see a little unmanned, self-serve roadside farm stand. I saw a kitten trying to steal an ear of corn from one the other day. I guess he forgot his wallet.
6 ears of corn
1 small red bell pepper
1 small orange bell pepper
1 t sugar
1/4 t cumin
1/2 t black pepper
1 small lime
1 t oil (veg or canola)
1 t rice vinegar (or white balsamic)
- Shuck your corn and drop it into lightly salted boiling water for about 3 minutes - you just want to take that raw, starchy crunch off it. Pour out the hot water and run under cold to cool the corn.
- Remove the kernels from the cob. To do this, hold the ear by the tip so it's standing on your cutting board on its "handle," and run a sharp knife down the length, close to the cob. There are a bazillion posts going around about doing this in a bundt pan to catch the kernels so they don't fly all over your kitchen, but unless you're maybe cutting raw (hard) corn, or not cutting close enough to the cob, that's not going to happen. You can see in my pics below just how far the kernels jumped.
- Petite dice your peppers, scallion, and cucumber so they are all roughly the same size as the corn. I know I say this all the time, but I actually prefer to buy the mini pickling cukes for better flavor without all the mushy seeds (so I used 3-4 minis). If you can find a good firm cucumber, that's great. If not, maybe an English cucumber or the minis. If all you have access to is big cucumbers with tons of seeds, I'd scoop out the seeds so you don't end up watering down your salad - unless you think it will be gone in one sitting.
- Wash the cilantro really well, then squeeze dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel and chop. I thought I was going to use about half a bunch but found myself sneaking in more.
- Toss all of your veggies and cilantro together in a big bowl and zest the lime right over the top.
- Squeeze the juice from the lime into a small bowl, and to that add the sugar, salt, cumin, black pepper, oil, and vinegar; stir together to dissolve the sugar, then pour over the veggies and toss.
- Sprinkle the chili powder over the top and toss again - I waited to the end to add the chili powder because I was afraid if I added it to the liquid, it would just turn everything reddish-brown. This way gives the liquid a chance to be distributed first.
See - if you have kernels flying everywhere, you're not cutting close
enough to the cob and are actually wasting a lot of your corn.
You can break up the strips of corn if you want,
but I like to let it break up on its own as I mix,
leaving some small strips like pictured below.