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Charred Fresh Corn Salsa with Avocado

 

Every couple of weeks or so, our little group here in PA has a game night.  We’re all pretty big gamers; I personally come from a long line of card sharks.  My grandmother didn’t love much more than she loved playing cards.  So every once in a while we’ll set up some tables, bring out the paper plates, and call everyone in.  I shouldn’t say “we,” as I’ve never personally hosted one, however it’s up to everyone to bring their favorite dish and beverage, so it’s somewhat of a group effort.

There’s always a beautiful cheese plate complete with grapes, nuts and a variety of cheese with crackers.  Someone usually brings wings and/or pizza.  Someone always bakes a cake.  And I usually bring the dip and chips.  It’s a hodgepodge of a meal, but that’s the best part about potlucks.

We set up the food, have a couple of bites, then get down to business.  There’s always money on the line, which never works out in my favor, but we have fun nonetheless.  Conversation, food, music, and friendly competition is really what it’s all about.

This past weekend when the bat signal went out in the form of a group text, I opened up my refrigerator and set to creating something with what I already had on hand.  I didn’t have time nor did I want to go to the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon, so I’d have to wing this one.  I saw some fresh Summer corn that didn’t quite make it into the weekly dinner rotation, some grape tomatoes that needed to be used, a bell pepper that K was planning on using for a salad until I commandeered it, a couple avocados that were just ripe, and a few of other pantry staples (re: fritos).

For me, nothing is better than fresh, charred corn on the cob in the summertime, so I set to create a charred corn salad-turned-salsa.  Minimal cooking, maximum flavor–that’s the name of the game on a Saturday afternoon.  Turns out, this throw-together dish was a huge hit.  It’s summery, fresh, and bright.  There wasn’t a bite left at the end of the evening.

And it’s as easy as turning on your oven and throwing some ingredients in a bowl!  Let’s go!

Turn on your oven to broil and husk the corn.  Set your oven rack to the highest point in the oven (right under the broiler), and place the corn directly on the rack.  Broil, turning occasionally, until the outsides are slightly charred, about 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven.  Watch closely!  You don’t want to burn, just char.  Once the corn is nice and brown, remove it from the oven and let it cool.

 

That one on the left got a little more “charred” than the others, but that’s OK!

 

Meanwhile, In a medium bowl, begin combining your ingredients.  Add 1 small can of diced green chilies, well drained.
Then add half a pint of chopped grape tomatoes and one orange bell pepper that has been medium diced.  You want everything to be about the same size.
Add half an onion, medium diced, about a tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro, and some spices.  I seasoned with salt, pepper, and my favorite Mexican spice blend, which is really just a combination of paprika, cumin, cayenne, and chili powder.  Taco seasoning would probably be comparable.
Add the juice of one lime and toss to combine.

Once the corn is cool, carefully cut the corn off the cob.  Do you know the trick to this?  Stand the corn up in a shallow bowl and cut it right in the bowl, that way the kernels don’t fly off into unknown corners of your kitchen.  They’ll stay right where they’re supposed to.  Add the charred corn to the salsa and toss.

Finally, when you are just about to serve, or in my case, just about to leave for game night, cube up two ripe avocados.  You’ll want to wait until the last minute so they don’t brown.
Squeeze the juice of another lime right on top and add a bit more salt.  Wait to squeeze the second lime directly over the avocado, instead of earlier with the first one, to slow the browning process.  Toss it all together, taste for seasonings with a chip to get the salt right, and serve!
It’s bright, colorful, fresh, and incredibly tasty.  The lime juice and the green chilies give it just enough moisture to call it a salsa, and just enough acidity and mild spice.
Creamy avocado, crunchy pepper, juicy tomato, charred sweet corn–this is the perfect combination of texture and because everything is roughly the same size, nothing overpowers anything else.  It’s wonderfully balanced.
I served this with salty corn chips but I think it would be just as good as a topping for grilled fish or chicken.  Heck, even add it to a burger for a fresh take on a Summer classic.  It’s strong enough to stand alone but versatile enough to compliment a whole host of other dishes.
It’s summer in a bowl!

Here’s the recipe.


Charred Fresh Corn Salsa with Avocado

Ingredients

  • 3 ears of fresh corn, husked
  • 1 small can of diced green chilies, drained well
  • 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, medium diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, medium diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican spice blend (some version of paprika, chili powder, cumin, cayenne)
  • 2 ripe avocados, cubed
  • 2 limes, juiced and divided

Method

  1. Heat your broiler and arrange an oven rack to the highest point.  Place your corn directly on the rack and let it broil, turning frequently, until slightly charred.  Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.  Remove corn from the oven and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine drained diced green chilies, diced tomatoes, diced bell pepper, diced onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, and Mexican seasoning.  Add the juice of one lime.  Toss to combine.  Once the corn is cooled, cut the kernels off the cob and add them to the bowl.  Toss again.
  3. Just before serving, add cubed avocado and top with the juice of the other lime.  Toss then taste for seasonings and add a bit more salt if needed.  Serve immediately with chips or as a topping for fish, chicken, burgers or a salad!

Enjoy!