Corn Salad

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 30 minutes

Commercial corn salads and salsas are usually made with frozen corn. I’m not against frozen, but if corn is going to be the star, you gotta go fresh. Here you have three choices for preparing the corn: If it’s just picked and really good, leave it raw; just shave the kernels from the ears and toss them with the rest of the ingredients.

That’s not usually the case, though, and almost as good is to roast the kernels from good corn in a skillet with a little oil, as here. Or use the kernels from already steamed corn, which—if the corn was good in the first place—is an excellent way to take care of the leftovers.

2 tablespoons corn oil

2 to 3 cups corn kernels (from 4 to 6 ears)

1 small red onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped

1 teaspoon mild chili powder, like ancho, or the equivalent

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium tomato, peeled if you like, cored, seeded, and chopped

1 medium ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped

Juice of 2 limes, or more to taste

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves, more or less

01 Put the oil in a large skillet (cast iron is good here, but anything will do) and turn the heat to high. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, toss in the corn. Let it sit for a minute or so, then stir or shake the pan. Brown the corn a bit, 5 minutes or less, then turn off the heat and stir in the onion, pepper, chili powder, salt, and pepper.

02 Cool for a few minutes, then toss with the tomato, avocado, lime juice, and cilantro. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

Variation

Curried Corn Salad. The Spice Route: Instead of the chili powder, use Hot Curry Powder or Fragrant Curry Powder. Substitute 1 cup cooked shelled peas, cooked potato cubes, chopped cauliflower, or more corn for the avocado.