We have corn in some form or other almost every day of the corn season. Quinoa salads are another summer staple - it's great to add whatever is available at the greenmarket. Combining grilled corn to a quinoa salad adds body, crunch and another great layer of flavor to a dish that is simple to prepare but loaded with great tastes. Fresh mint adds a bright and refreshing flavor. I prepare this salad the day after we have grilled corn on the cob, making sure we prepare extra ears for this or other recipes. But please note that fresh corn off the cob also works very well, as long as the corn is sweet and fresh. So if you choose, try fresh corn as well. You can also buy frozen charred corn or canned corn at Trader Joe's and use either of those as winter replacements. —Bevi
8 to 10 ample portions
For the Grilled Corn
2 or 3 ears
Corn on the cob, or 2.5 cups canned or frozen corn
Salt and Pepper
Large Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons
Fresh lemon thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Small Kirby cucumbers
Large raisins (I like Trader Joe's mixed raisins)
Rub the husked corn with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Place on outdoor grill and turn until some of the kernels are a little blackened.
With a sharp knife, remove the kernels from the cobs. Be sure to then use the dull side of the knife blade to scrape off the "milk". Place in a medium sized bowl.
NB - Alternately, drained canned corn; or steam the frozen charred corn to make 2 cups. Proceed with the Quinoa Salad part of the recipe.
Prepare the quinoa. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil to a 3 quart saucepan, and add the quinoa. Saute until the quinoa emits a nutty aroma. I use a ratio of 2 cups quinoa to 3 cups water when I make this dish. Add the water to the quinoa, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, take off the heat, and let sit while you prepare the vegetables.
In a large saute pan, add the chopped onion to the olive oil and cook over medium low heat. While the onion is cooking, quarter the zucchini lengthwise, pare out most of the seeds, and roughly chop. Add to the onions.
Add the fresh lemon thyme, and continue to saute. After a few minutes, add a little salt and pepper. While this mixture is sauteing, quarter the cucumbers lengthwise, and chop roughly.
When the onion and zucchini mixture is golden with just a little browning, add the cucumbers. Saute the cukes only briefly - you want to retain the crunch of the cukes. Remove from the heat. Add the toasted almonds and the raisins, and stir thoroughly. Taste for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Prepare the lemon vinaigrette. Juice the lemon into a wide drinking glass. Add some salt and pepper, and then add 3 times as much olive oil as you have lemon juice. Pour the olive oil right on top of the lemon juice to eyeball the amount. Mix thoroughly with a wisk or fork until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
In a large bowl, add the quinoa, sauteed vegetable, nut and raisin mixture, and the corn. Pour the vinaigrette over the contents, and carefully incorporate the ingredients. Note: Pour the vinaigrette in stages - mix - and adjust the amount to suit your taste.
Add the feta cheese and mix again. Then, add the chopped mint. Mix, taste, and adjust as suits you. Place the quinoa salad in the refrigerator as it is best served cool.