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

June 14, 2012
Photo by James Ransom
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4 as a side dish, more as a topping or garnish
  • 5 ears of corn
  • 1 poblano pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 pinches kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small avocado, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne or Aleppo pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh basil and mint leaves, roughly torn
In This Recipe
  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.

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Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.