Saturday, August 27, 2016

A salad to obsess over: Fresh corn salad

Given how long it's been since I posted a recipe, you must be thinking to yourself, this is a really special recipe. And you are right.

We have an amazing local chef in Walla Walla who makes a corn salad at his take-out joint (in a gas station, which is awesome), and I have enjoyed it a number of times. But me being me, I thought--actually for the first time, this summer--I should be able to make this at home, right?

And right I was. After a Google/Pinterest search or two, I found a great many recipes purporting to be "Mexican street corn salad," and narrowed my findings down by reading a few and deciding on one that seemed close to what I'd tasted in the past.

So I made it, and tweaked it, made it again, and kept tweaking. It has, over the course of many makings this summer, evolved to a place where it feels different enough from the original recipe(s) I spotted online, and also very, very good.

Fresh corn salad
6 ears of sweet corn, cut off the cob
1/2 medium sweet (I like the Walla Walla, of course!) onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 Anaheim peppers, diced

Saute the first three ingredients over high heat, until the corn starts to blacken and scorch a bit (not unlike grilling or roasting). Add the peppers and saute for a few minutes more, until they wilt a bit. Take off the stove to cool.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cojita cheese, crumbled
Juice of three limes, squeezed
1 generous bunch of cilantro, chopped (at least 1/2 cup)
6 green onions, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl mix the mayonnaise, cheese, and lime juice, and stir until well blended. Add the cilantro, green onion and chili powder, and mix.

Once the corn mixture has cooled slightly, toss the dressing with the corn and stir well. Serve with extra cheese, and adapt at will. We have enjoyed this concoction in quesadillas and tacos, I've added tomatoes and avocados and really enjoyed it that way too. This is probably the most repeated recipe in our house this summer, which--knowing Seth's and my shared penchant for pesto--is saying something!

I highly recommend the fresh corn aspect of this salad. Many of the recipes I found called for frozen or canned, and I think that the fresh corn just makes it. I also tended to up the cilantro as I went along, and got no complaints from the guys! The one time they were less wild about it, I couldn't find cojita (not every town has the cheese selections of Walla Walla, let's just say, and on vacation I had to make do) and used parmesan. Just not the same. Go for the cojita.

I hope you make it and enjoy as much as we have this summer. I decided to blog the recipe so that Seth can access it from college this winter if he decides he can't do without a corn salad fix.

This recipe makes roughly eight cups. So divide that as best among your eaters. In our house it tends to go pretty quickly. :)


  1. Is there a more common cheese that is similar to cojita?

    1. Well, parmesan is listed as one possible substitute. But so is feta. I would up the quantity if trying it with parmesan, but definitely think feta is worth a try. Maybe don't add salt until after you have the feta in play, and taste test. Feta is pretty salty, you know?

      Also, just read that nutritional yeast could be a substitute. Would not have guessed that one. You like nutritional yeast, right? Maybe give that a try.


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