Basically healthier elotes: this is a simply dressed Grilled Corn Salad with pickled red onions, cotija, and lime. A colorful side dish to accompany every summer dinner!
In the height of summer, I tend to be a bit of a corn purist. I carefully seek out perfect cobs, with shiny husks and plump, golden kernels, and enjoy them simply with a salty, melty schmear of butter. There really is no better way to eat peak-season corn, in my opinion. Those gorgeous cobs are sweet enough to stand up as a side all on their own.
But I’m also not opposed to jazzing things up every once in a while. You could call me a serial jazzer-upper, of sorts. I’ve been known to throw a bit of this and a dash of that into just about everything.
Simple and gussied-up all at once, this humble salad will surprise you with its ability to impress unsuspecting eaters.
It has it all. Sweet and smoky charred corn kernels. Twangy quick-pickled red onion. Pops of salt from cotija cheese (or feta, if you’d rather). Fresh, herbaceous cilantro. A light, spiced vinaigrette to tie it all together. Even a serial jazzer-upper can’t figure out how to improve upon this salad. It’s the perfect convergence of pared down and dressed up.
I typically broil my corn because I live in an apartment complex that doesn’t allow grills (boo hiss). It takes about 15 minutes under my broiler, but you might have to adjust the cooking time to suit yours.
Or, hot tip: You can do as my friend Jo does and sear your corn kernels right in a pan to cut down on time. If you have corn coming out your ears (get it?) you can make her Spicy Charred Corn Dip too. I definitely would because these warm months have me feelin’ extra corny.
At barbecues I’ve brought it to, it’s received such feedback as, “wow,” “this corn is like… really good,” and my personal favorite: the silent reach for a second helping. It pairs perfectly with smoky, savory burgers, and it stands out as a colorful option on a table laden with heavy mayo-based salads.
Now get to shuckin’, because this corn salad should be on your table every week until corn season ends.
IF YOU MAKE THIS GRILLED CORN SALAD, DON’T FORGET TO SNAP A PHOTO AND TAG ME IN IT ON INSTAGRAM @FEELINWHISKY! I LOVE SEEING WHAT YOU DO WITH MY RECIPES!Print
Grilled Corn Salad
A simply dressed Grilled Corn Salad with pickled red onions, cotija, and lime. A colorful side dish to accompany every summer dinner!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Salad, Side Dish
- 1/2 small red onion, (thinly sliced)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, (divided)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 5 medium ears corn, (shucked)
- 1/2 cup cotija or feta cheese
- A big handful of cilantro leaves, (chopped)
- Kosher salt + black pepper
- Quick-pickle the onions: In a small bowl, combine the sliced onion and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Season with a few pinches of salt and massage it in with your hands until the salt feels mostly dissolved. Set aside.
- Grill the corn: Heat a grill to medium-high. Lightly oil the grates and place the cobs directly on them. Cook until lightly charred in spots all over, turning as needed. (If you don’t have a grill, like me, you can broil them. Brush the cobs with a light coating of olive oil or butter, season with salt and pepper, and place on a lined baking sheet. Broil for 15 minutes, turning frequently, until charred in spots all over.) Remove corn cobs to a plate to cool.
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, chili powder, cumin, and remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice. Season generously with salt and black pepper.
- Assemble the salad: Cut the corn from the cobs using a sharp knife. Drain the pickling liquid from the onions. In a large bowl (or on a serving platter for extra fancy presentation), combine corn kernels, pickled onions, cheese, cilantro, and dressing. Toss together and serve immediately; this salad is best when the corn is still hot.