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Sweet Summer Days: Corn Salad Recipes

At this time of year, there is such an abundance of fresh corn at farmers markets and the local supermarket. And that’s our cue to shift into summer recipes.
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June 1, 2023
Sharon’s Corn Salad Photo by Alexandra Gomperts

When I was a little girl in Casablanca, I loved eating the grilled corn on the cob from the Arab street vendor. He would have many ears of corn sitting on a pile of glowing charcoals. Using a giant pair of tongs, he would turn them over and over until the kernels of corn were slightly puffed and slightly blackened. He would dip one ear of the cooked corn into a bucket of heavily salted water, place it on a piece of corn husk and hand it to me. 

I just remember the explosion of smoky, salty, sweet flavor. The fresh corn was crispy and fleshy and juicy all at the same time.

When I asked my cousin Simy about the corn vendors in Morocco, she told me that they were on street corners all over town, as well as the beaches. Since then, I’ve always loved corn in any shape or form. 

When I asked my cousin Simy about the corn vendors in Morocco, she told me that they were on street corners all over town, as well as the beaches. Since then, I’ve always loved corn in any shape or form. 

Luckily for me, the influence of our Mexican neighbors means that corn is very popular on California menus. At this time of year, there is such an abundance of fresh corn at farmers markets and the local supermarket. And that’s our cue to shift into summer recipes.

One of my favorite ways to use corn is in salads. It’s an easy way to eat it without getting your hands dirty and corn stuck in your teeth. Corn adds an unexpected sweetness and brightness. I prefer to use the white corn rather than the bright yellow corn as the white is sweeter and more tender.

The salad recipe I’m sharing here uses grilled corn but will work just as well with boiled or even raw corn. (Grilled corn imparts a smoky flavor, while boiled corn is subtle and sweet and raw corn will be crunchy and milky sweet.) This salad includes romaine, sweet oranges, pistachios and ripe avocado. Of course, it’s no secret that corn pairs really well with avocado, but this salad has the perfect combination of unexpected ingredients. Something about the crunch and the creamy factors. 

Here’s to a summer filled with sunny days and delicious corn salads.

—Rachel 

When I was a little girl, corn was my favorite vegetable. My grandmother’s pantry was always stocked with cans of corn. She would open a can, heat up the corn, put a tiny pat of butter on top and I was the happiest girl on earth. On the cans of corn was an illustration of a pretty little farm girl in a bonnet standing near a field filled with sheaves of corn and that just added to the pleasure. 

Now that I’m mostly an adult, I still love corn. There’s nothing better than sinking your teeth into corn on the cob. Corn on the cob is summer barbecues. Corn on the cob is a healthy treat between rides on sweaty days with the kids at Knotts Berry Farm or Disneyland. Corn on the cob is one of the simple pleasures in life. 

Quite a few years ago, Stan from Stan’s Produce told me that the easiest way to cook corn on the cob was to double a paper towel, wet it, put it on top of the corn and microwave for 5 to 8 minutes. I often use this technique and always think of Stan. 

Whenever I host Shabbat lunch or a barbecue, I love to make a southwestern style salad with corn and canned black beans, avocado, tricolor peppers, purple onion and radishes. I make a dressing with spicy mayo, olive oil and lime juice. I garnish with corn chips which makes it fun to eat. It’s always a hit (even with the pickiest eaters).

The recipe I share here is more of a riff on street corn with fresh juicy tomatoes, crunchy red, orange and yellow peppers, crisp cucumber, Italian parsley and purple onion.

The recipe I share here is more of a riff on street corn with fresh juicy tomatoes, crunchy red, orange and yellow peppers, crisp cucumber, Italian parsley and purple onion. The Mexican influence comes through the addition of creamy avocado, fresh-squeezed lime juice and crunchy plantain chips. If you’re serving a dairy meal, add some crumbled Feta cheese. 

Just simple, healthy and delicious.

—Sharon 

Sharon’s Corn Salad

3 ears of corn, boiled or microwaved
1 red pepper, 1 orange pepper, 1 yellow
pepper, diced
2 large firm heirloom tomatoes, diced
1 bunch Italian parsley, soaked, rinsed and
roughly chopped
1 purple onion, thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado, cubed
6 radishes, thinly sliced
Plantain chips or corn chips, for garnish

Dressing
1/3 cup olive oil
2 limes, juiced
Salt and pepper

Strip kernels of corn from the cob and place in a large bowl.
Add the peppers, tomatoes, parsley, onion, avocado and radish.
Just before serving, pour in the salad dressing and toss well.


Rachel’s Corn Salad
Photo by Alexandra Gomperts

Rachel’s Corn Salad

3 ears of white corn
4 romaine gems, chopped into thin shreds
2 medium avocados, cubed
2 oranges, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup roasted and salted pistachios
Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon dry oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Grill the corn for 10 minutes or until fork tender. Let cool, then strip the kernels.
Prepare the dressing in a bowl. Add the cubed avocado to the dressing and coat well.
Assemble the salad in a large bowl. Place the Romaine lettuce gems on the bottom. Add the grilled corn in the center of the bowl. Add the avocado and the dressing around the corn.
Place the oranges around the outer edges of the bowl.
Garnish with the roasted pistachios.
Toss immediately before serving.


Sharon Gomperts and Rachel Emquies Sheff have been friends since high school. The Sephardic Spice Girls project has grown from their collaboration on events for the Sephardic Educational Center in Jerusalem. Follow them
on Instagram @sephardicspicegirls and on Facebook at Sephardic Spice SEC Food. Website sephardicspicegirls.com/full-recipes.

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