Tortilla chips and salsa. About as ubiquitous as you can get. Every picnic, family get together, friends over for beverages and conversation seems to be accompanied by corn chips and salsa. The media has been telling us for years that salsa has surpassed ketchup as the number one condiment in the USA.

Clearly many people love chips and salsa, and when I thought about the ingredients there is no wonder this snack is so popular. Corn, tomatoes, chillies, onions, these are fresh tastes of summer!

I wondered how it would be to combine these ingredients into a fresh salad.

Pretty . Darn. Good.

You can call this Sweet Corn Salad, while a fancy-plate place might call it Deconstructed Chips and Salsa; but what ever the name, I call it delicious!

Pan roasting the sweet corn till you get a little char on it gives the flavors of chips without the crunch, and the addition of sweet peppers, grilled tomatoes, and onions hit all the right notes.

Grilling the tomatoes brings out even more sweetness to vine-ripe orbs of love. Don’t worry if you don’t have magazine worthy grill marks. That’s very difficult for a home cook to achieve. Most grills do not get hot enough.

You don’t need to roast the sweet peppers, but it does add a smokier flavor than just sautéed peppers. Feel free to ratchet up the heat with some hot chillies if you want. I used a ripe Serrano for just a little heat.

While there is a little prep to do – grill the tomatoes, roast and peel the green peppers – this dish comes together pretty quickly.

Sweet Corn Salad

Serves 4 as a side, 1-2 as a light meal.

INGREDIENTS
2 medium (4” (10 cm) diameter) ripe tomatoes sliced thick – 6 to 8 slices total
2 teaspoons (10 ml) neutral oil – (canola, safflower) divided
4 cups of sweet corn cut off the cob (or use more – the volume will reduce as it cooks)
1 cup (500 ml) green pepper diced – about 2 small – (for smokier flavor roast and peel them – see NOTE)
1/2 cup (250 ml) red onion diced
1 cup (500 ml) cherry tomatoes – halved
1 teaspoon (5 ml) minced hot chilli – (optional)
Salt
Pepper
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Lime juice (lemon juice will work just fine too)
Cilantro to garnish

METHOD
  1. On a hot & oiled grill – gas or charcoal – place the slices of tomatoes and cook until they start to bubble on the upper surface.
  2. Using a spatula, carefully remove from grill and turn onto a plate, grilled side up. Set aside.
  3. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add 1 teaspoon oil. Swirl pan to coat evenly and add the sweet corn.
  4. Cook corn, stirring often until it starts to brown and char in places – 7-10 minutes.
  5. Remove corn from pan to a bowl and set aside.
  6. Wipe out pan, and over medium high heat add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil, onion, halved cherry tomatoes, green peppers, hot chilli, and a generous pinch of salt.
  7. Cook stirring often until vegetables soften but don’t brown. 4- 5 minutes.
  8. Combine vegetable mixture with reserved pan roasted corn.
  9. Taste mixture and add salt, pepper and lime juice to your taste.
  10. To plate, spoon corn vegetable mixture into a shallow bowl, arrange grilled tomatoes on top, garnish with cilantro.

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Enjoy this on a hot August night, outside, with the crickets chirping. I did.

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!

NOTE: Roast the green peppers over the flame on your grill or stove top, turn with tongs until charred all over. When black and blistered, place peppers in a paperbag and let steam for about 10 minutes; this will make it easier to remove the skin. Peel the peppers, discard the seeds and dice.

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