Whenever I go out to eat, I have the habit of choosing my main course, not by the protein or how it’s prepared, but by what is served with it. The side dish. That’s the thing that really pulls me into the entree. Of course, my mood at the time is also an influencer. Do I feel like homey, comfort food promised in a creamy dish of mac and cheese, or do I feel like something lighter and more vibrant? Last night, it was the latter.
We weren’t eating out, instead we were grilling spicy chicken sausages — and I wanted something crunchy and bright to go with. Naturally I thought salad, but we were out of greens. Rummaging through the crisper, I found some vegetables that I bought on Saturday at the farmers market. I reached for my Santoku knife and chopping block and set to work on this raw corn salad.
In many salads with a mixture of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers etc, the size of the individual ingredients can vary, making me have to work harder to get several vegetables into a single bite — stabbing it with a fork, nudging with my finger. I didn’t want to have to work that hard tonight. I know what you’re thinking – this is really the epitome of laziness. I decided this would be a chopped salad, with all the ingredients roughly the same size — a perfect bite that could be scooped easily onto a fork.
I like to make my own salad dressing and I knew the flavor profile I wanted for this one. It had to be bright (citrus), sweet (honey), smoky (chipotle) with a little bite (garlic) to it.
This light, crunchy salad will win praise at your next barbecue. Pinky promise.
- 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels off the cob (from about 3 ears of corn)
- 1 cup red cabbage, sliced thin and chopped
- 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
- 3 scallions, trimmed, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, medium dice
- 1 medium tomato, seeded, medium dice
- 1/2 of a Florida avocado (aka skinnycado) or 1 whole Haas avocado, peeled, seeded, diced
- zest and juice of one lime
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl combine corn, cabbage, serrano peppers, scallions, bell pepper, tomato and avocado. Toss to combine.
- For dressing: combine all ingredients except salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour dressing over the salad and toss to combine well. Serve.
- Because this salad has so many crunchy vegetables, it can hold up to the dressing without wilting as quickly as a green salad. Therefore, you can make this a few hours in advance and it will stay crunchy.