Charred Corn and Avocado Salad with Lime, Chili, and Tomato

By • June 14, 2012 • 53 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 pieces
  • 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
  • cayenne or Aleppo pepper, to taste
  • 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.
Jump to Comments (53)

Tags: avocado, corn, salad, tomato

Comments (53) Questions (2)

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about 1 month ago Deborah

Whoops - just saw Bebewatson's question and Emily C's answer!

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about 1 month ago Deborah

Is this meant to be served warm? I hope not as I'm going to do the prep work now and put the broiled/grilled ingredients together in a couple of hours.

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about 1 month ago Bebewatson

This sounds delicious - can it be made ahead?

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about 1 month ago EmilyC

Yes, I often make it several hours in advance and leave it at room temperature. I like adding the avocado close to serving. Hope you enjoy it!

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2 months ago Jim

Made this over the weekend and everyone loved it. It's going onto my summer rotation now. YUM!!!

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2 months ago EmilyC

So glad you enjoyed it and plan to make it again!

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3 months ago Becca Ann Entenberg

This was delicious! A sprinkle of feta made it all the better.

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3 months ago EmilyC

Wonderful!

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4 months ago JanetFL

Emily, I will be making your recipe this summer and one of your notes brought a question to mind. I cannot tell you how many brands of sheet pans I have tried - they all buckle. Can you tell me what you're using?

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4 months ago EmilyC

My sheet pan is from Williams-Sonoma I believe, and it was labeled as restaurant quality. I got it at the outlet years ago and it's held up well. You'll enjoy this recipe every bit as much or more if you grill it outside. Hope you enjoy it!

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4 months ago JanetFL

Thanks for the input, Emily - I will take a look at Williams Sonoma online. I think that may be the one source I haven't yet tried!

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9 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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9 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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about 1 year 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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about 1 year ago EmilyC

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

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about 1 year ago Annie

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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about 1 year ago EmilyC

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

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about 1 year 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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about 1 year ago EmilyC

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

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about 1 year 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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about 1 year 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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about 1 year 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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over 1 year ago healthierkitchen

I'm eagerly awaiting corn season!

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over 1 year ago EmilyC

Me too!

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago healthierkitchen

that's my birthday too!!

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over 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yay Flag Day babies!!!

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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about 2 years ago student epicure

delicious! tastes like summer in a bowl!

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about 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks student epicure -- glad you like it!

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about 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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about 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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about 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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about 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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about 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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about 2 years ago EmilyC

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

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about 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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about 2 years ago EmilyC

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

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about 2 years ago Midge

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

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about 2 years ago EmilyC

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

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about 2 years ago arielleclementine

this looks fantastic, EmilyC! congrats on the CP!

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about 2 years ago EmilyC

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