Let's get this out there right off the bat. This is a salad like ambrosia is a salad, which is to say, not so much at all like one. It starts with a vegetable, surely, but veers quickly off course.
One of my favorite restaurants in this fair city is Toro, the tapas mainstay in the South End. It is incredibly delicious and incredibly fun and incredibly busy, even though it's been around for lots of years at this point. One of the dishes I get every time I go is Maíz Asado con Alioli y Queso Cotija - which is Toro's version of Elote, Mexican street corn - grilled with aioli, lime, chile pepper and cheese. Eating it is messy and undignified and so so so delicious. Street corn salad is my homage to that. It is not quite the same, but it is easier to eat, and it will definitely tide you over until you can get to Toro for the real thing. (Incidentally, I was at Brewer's Fork the other night and there is also a very delicious wood-oven roasted version there.)
I love this, it's a fantastic side dish for a barbecue or taco night or any old Wednesday, and it is a very excellent topping for black bean burgers or carnitas rice bowls. It also can be adapted for a filling for pierogis, apparently, which is now top on my list of things to try. For my black bean burgers, I used this recipe (which is a really good one) and topped them with American cheese, chipotle mayo, lettuce and a big old scoop of corn salad and served them on a buttered toasted roll. It was glorious (see evidence above.) The next day, I used some leftover carnitas and fashioned quite the rice bowl, with Mexican rice, black beans, avocado, pickled onions and the corn salad. ALSO GLORIOUS.
What I am saying to you is that you should make this. It is not diet food, but it is delicious food, and that's really what counts around here.
Things About Things
Street Corn Salad (serves 6-8)
5 cups corn kernels (approximately five ears)
1 tbl canola or vegetable oil (optional)
1 clove garlic
Pinch of kosher salt
2 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup shredded or grated cotija
3 tbl lime juice from one juicy lime
1 tsp aleppo pepper (or use 1/2 - 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Corn can be cooked either in the husks or cut off the cob and roasted in pieces. Corn cooked off the cob will develop some crunchy pieces, which is a nice textural variation. To roast the corn in the husk, remove some of of the outside husk and pull off the top of the corn silk. Roast on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes until the husks start to brown. To cook off the cob, toss the corn with the canola oil and roast for about 20 minutes until some of the pieces start to brown and crisp up.
While the corn is roasting, mash the garlic to a fine paste with the kosher salt. Mix the garlic with the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. When the corn is cooked, peel and remove from cobs if necessary, and toss with the dressing. Let cool and season with salt to taste.