Charred Corn and Avocado Salad with Lime, Chili and Tomato

By • June 14, 2012 • 42 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a simple and delicious summertime salad to have up your sleeve. When creating it, I intended to grill the avocado, corn, poblano, and red onion but then turned to my broiler instead. Broiling is a much underappreciated method of cooking in my opinion, and it works beautifully for this salad. Using the broiler versus the grill enables you to easily char the corn off the cob and the avocado, poblano and red onion in small pieces, resulting in more surface area to pick up that delicious charred flavor. It’s also incredibly easy -- all you have to do is preheat your broiler and assemble your ingredients on a sheet pan, with the avocado needing the least amount of time under the broiler. (If grilling, I'd recommend charring the corn on the cob and the red onion, poblano, and avocado in large pieces, then cutting them to size off the grill.) Once they’re done, all you have to do is toss them with halved cherry tomatoes, fresh mint and basil, and lime vinaigrette. You’re left with an incredibly versatile salad that could be served alongside grilled meat or fish, tossed with shrimp or crab, or spooned over tostadas, tacos, or quesadillas. EmilyC

Food52 Review: EmilyC’s salad is a statement of summer in a bowl – the corn stays crisp but has a nice smoked char (I never thought to listen for the popping noise before – it gave me perfect corn) likewise the onion and pepper. I loved the char on the avocado as well, a new trick for my arsenal! I used the grill (too hot here for the oven and my broiler doesn’t work anyway) and made quick work of the prep – the salad comes together in a snap once the grilling is done – and is an excellent balance of crispy sweet and creamy nutty. Turning to basil and mint rather than cilantro was so smart, they are the perfect herbal compliment. I added just a bit more lime and a bit more cayenne than called for, but that is a matter of personal taste. We had this as a side for 4 (it’s excellent with grilled chicken thighs) and I had some to share with the neighbors as well. Everyone agrees and a double thumbs UP!aargersi

Serves 4 as a side dish, more as a topping or garnish

  • 5 ears of corn
  • 1 poblano pepper, cut into small dice
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small avocado, cut into small dice
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 T lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • ½ tsp honey
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • handful of fresh basil and mint leaves, roughly torn
  1. Preheat your broiler to medium-high and place your oven rack about 4" to 6" from your heating element.
  2. Shuck your corn and remove the silks. Cut the kernels from the cob using your favorite technique and set them aside in a bowl. Add the diced poblano and sliced red onion. Toss with a teaspoon or two of olive oil to evenly coat, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a sheet pan (you can line with foil for easy cleanup) or large skillet and spread out in an even layer. (Use something that's nice and sturdy -- flimsy pans may warp or buckle under the heating element.)
  3. Broil the corn, poblano and red onion for 3 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan a few times, or until charred in spots. You're looking for some noticeable char, but be mindful to not overcook. Remove the pan, add the avocado, and broil for a minute or two longer. (If you don't like your avocado warmed, just skip this step and add it at the end.) In the process of broiling, you may hear or see a few corn kernels starting to jump around on the hot pan -- a good indication that they’re done. Remove sheet pan from oven.
  4. To make lime vinaigrette: whisk together lime juice, honey, and cayenne, and then slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Season to taste.
  5. Transfer contents to a serving bowl, add cherry tomatoes, mint and basil, and drizzle in the lime vinaigrette, a few teaspoons at a time. You may not need the full amount. Toss and taste for seasoning. Serve with lime wedges.

Comments (42) Questions (1)

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4 months ago Miles

Has anyone tried this with frozen corn? I have a lot of frozen sweet corn kernals from the summer and would love to use them in this. Thanks!

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4 months ago EmilyC

Hi Miles, I haven't tried frozen corn but I'd say go for it! I'd thaw it first. It may not get as charred as fresh corn under the broiler, but it'll still be good I think. Let me know if you try it.

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8 months ago Cam

This salad was delicious on a warm summer evening. I added wheat berries to make it more filling and the nuttiness of the berries was a welcome addition. Did not broil the avocado. Will make this again and again.

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8 months ago EmilyC

So happy to hear this -- thanks for your note!

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9 months ago An Nuyen

this is such a simple and delicious way of highlighting fresh summer corn! although I ended up broiling the avocado too long and it turned out very bitter (which apparently happens when you overheat an avocado, who knew??)

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9 months ago EmilyC

Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for your note about the avocado (didn't know that either)!

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10 months ago Auntie Lissa

Absolutely love this! Have made it several times - not always including all the ingredients! So fast and easy, can serve in the same pan you used to cook it in too...

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10 months ago EmilyC

So happy you're enjoying the salad! Thanks for your note!

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10 months ago ds14248

What would be the best way to cook this is you are don't have a grill or an over with a broiler? I realize you will lose the delicious charred flavor, but I would still like to give it a shot.

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10 months ago ds14248

That should have read "What would be the best way to cook this if you don't have a grill or an oven with a broiler?". Oops!

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10 months ago EmilyC

I'd recommend roasting the corn, pepper and onion at a high temperature (400 degrees) for about 15 to 20 minutes -- should work really well. You could also char the corn and vegetables in a cast-iron skillet, but you'd have to do several batches. Hope you enjoy the salad!

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10 months ago healthierkitchen

I'm eagerly awaiting corn season!

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10 months ago EmilyC

Me too!

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11 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You posted this on my birthday last year and it is on the menu for my party this year! yay!

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11 months ago EmilyC

I think it's awesome that you're thinking ahead to your b'day party menu! And I'm happy that this made the cut! : )

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11 months ago healthierkitchen

that's my birthday too!!

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11 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yay Flag Day babies!!!

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11 months ago EmilyC

Happy b'day a day early to both of you! Abbie, you'll have to share your final menu!

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11 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

K!
Pickled shimp / garden tomato and snack tray
This salad
my squash salad with mustard mint aioli
Bill Miller BBQ cole slaw (their slaw is the BEST!)
grilled lamb chops
finger lakes finger lickin' chicken
grilled naan
chimichurri / pesto / tzatziki
coconut tres leches
a chocolate cake (not sure which yet)
a peach gallette

LOADS of wine. :-)

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11 months ago EmilyC

Wow, that's a seriously amazing menu! Thanks for sharing it. It's making me realize that June birthdays totally beat November ones! Enjoy your day! : )

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over 1 year ago student epicure

delicious! tastes like summer in a bowl!

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over 1 year ago EmilyC

Thanks student epicure -- glad you like it!

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almost 2 years ago RobinDiane

I've made this twice now and everybody loves it. Two little tweaks 1) first time didn't have poblano so I used red pepper and liked that, so next time as well as the poblano made it with half a red peeper as well. The other tweak was cumin in the dressing. Awesome recipe, Thanks

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

This is so nice to hear, RobinDiane! Glad you're enjoying the dish -- thanks for letting me know!

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almost 2 years ago Phrynosoma

I modified this recipe to utilize what was on hand, and it was a tasty success. We were out of tomatoes, and used cilantro instead of mint and basil. I used garden-grown Anaheims instead of poblano, and mixed in some roasted, peeled, chopped New Mexico green chiles at the end for spice. The end result was slightly different, but it was still absolutely delicious even without the tomatoes! (I assume the tomatoes would normally be tossed in at the end, but the recipe doesn't say when to add them.)

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks Phrynosoma, glad you liked it! Your tweaks sound delicious. And yes, the tomatoes are meant to be tossed in at the end; I added that to step 5 above (thanks!).

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almost 2 years ago AnnP

Made this last night for a family dinner - wished I had quadrupled it because they loved it! Not a nibble left over. Thanks for the fabulous recipe and tip about broiling. Those of us in the Northwest don't always get summer grilling weather, no matter what the calendar says.

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Delighted that you and your family liked it -- thanks!

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almost 2 years ago Mianna

Great flavors, tried this last night. Also added black beans for a bit of protein, a dash of cumin and fresh oregano. Thanks for the broiling idea.

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

So happy to hear this -- thanks for reporting back!

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almost 2 years ago Midge

Love all the elements here. Can't wait to try it.

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks Midge -- would love to know what you think of you try it!

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almost 2 years ago arielleclementine

this looks fantastic, EmilyC! congrats on the CP!

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks so much, and congrats again on your finalist nod for those killer tacos!

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almost 2 years ago dymnyno

I am in the grill on the BBQ camp on this one.

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

The grill definitely works well...hard to beat cooking outdoors in the summer...but broiling is a great alternative for those who don't have grills or can't get outside for whatever reason, like watching two children under the age of 3 while trying to cook dinner! : )

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almost 2 years ago Bevi

This sounds delicious and perfect for upcoming corn season.

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks Bevi! Corn season can't get here soon enough!

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almost 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love this, you are churning out the amazing salads. Corn and avocado (like beets IMHO) are perfect together and I squeeze lime on just about everything.

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Ah, thanks! We must have very similar palates! Lemons are a year-round obsession of mine, but I'm absolutely crazy about limes in the summer. Lately I've been reaching for them all of the time!

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almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks, and I'm with you on local corn! My family is going back to my parents' farm in a few weeks, so I can't wait to have sweet corn from their garden (which is more of a field really!).

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almost 2 years ago savorthis

This looks so good, I can't wait for our best local corn. I've been doing a lot of one pan broiler dishes lately and this fits right in.