One dish that was clearly a hit this summer was a salad my sister recommended when I was planning the menu for a party. My college-age nephew first found it online: It's made with raw corn... yes raw, so delicious, fresh and crunchy!
"What better time to share this simple salad recipe then when the farmer's markets, roadside stands, and grocery stores (if you must!), are brimming with tender ears of sweet corn," says 'Green Eyed Ladies' blogger, who created this recipe after learning from a local farmer that you can eat sweet corn raw without it ever touching a grill or a pot of boiling water.
This means the corn needs to be really fresh... buy it that day and preferably from a local farm stand, but the supermarket will do too. When buying corn, don't remove the husks at the market; keep the husks on the corn until you're ready to use them. The moisture from the silks keeps them fresh and the best way to store them is in a cool dark spot (a kitchen drawer) in a brown bag.
When I need a quick and easy side dish for a family dinner I like to microwave the corn with the husks, which steams them beautifully; just don't overcook them. The time varies depending on the microwave, but I usually cook four ears for about six minutes, turning them over about halfway through the cooking time.
When I was upstate this summer I heard that the high heat, especially the week that was in the high 90s, was actually cooking the corn while it was still growing in the fields.
This salad has three basic ingredients: raw corn, red onion, and avocado. It's a great side dish to accompany any summer meal, but for my party I added chopped steamed shrimp to make it more of a main attraction... and boy was it! Oh, one other thing: If you don't have limes, you can use lemons; either works. You can use both for that matter.
Raw Corn and Avocado Salad
3 ears of fresh sweet corn, husked and cut from cob
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 small avocado, diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tablespoon fresh basil or cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
*optional: 1/2 pound of steamed and chopped shrimp
After husking and cutting the corn from the cob, pull out as many corn silks as possible. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Serve immediately or allow to marinate. I prefer the cilantro with its bright sharp taste to the basil, but some people get a soapy taste from cilantro (it may be genetic-based). Other ideas are to serve as a side with tortilla chips, or as a topping for tacos.
A tip for corn husking: When you first husk the corn, take and divide the silks and the husk (the green outer leaves) in half at the same time, then pull downward. This should take care of most of the silks.
I hope you enjoy this refreshing corn salad while it's still in season. It's perfect for a Labor Day backyard party or just a day at the beach or poolside with the family.