Now that fall is in the air, or in Austin, around the corner at least, I've got comfort food on the brain. We tried La Condesa not too long ago and in addition to their tasty tacos, we had a little bowl of roasted corn soup. It was simply roasted corn kernels in a rich, buttery broth. Simple, but so good.
Ever since, I've had roasted corn cravings. This salad comes from San Francisco chef Elizabeth Falkner. It looked like a great way to use roasted corn. With arugula, avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin seeds and a fresh vinaigrette made from the sweetness of some of the puréed roasted corn, lime, sherry vinegar and a little unexpected hit of warm cinnamon, it was fantastic. The corn in the dressing really takes it to another level. This one's going into rotation with our favorite salads.
Roasted Corn Salad
5 ears of fresh corn, husks and strings removed
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoon fresh lime juice (approximately 1 lime)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 pounds baby arugula
2-3 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 large red tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 large orange or yellow tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 hothouse cucumber, cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced
3 ounces queso fresco or ricotta salata, crumbled
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Put the ears of corn on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes – turning 2-3 times during the roasting to brown on all sides. Remove from oven and let cool. When cooled completely, cut the kernels from the cobs and set aside.
In a blender, put 1/2 cup corn kernels, lime juice, sherry vinegar, sugar, hot sauce, and cinnamon. Purée until smooth. With the machine on, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of olive oil and blend until emulsified. Pour the vinaigrette into a bowl.
In the bottom of a large, shallow salad bowl, make a bed of the arugula. Sprinkle with tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados and the remaining roasted corn. Sprinkle the top with the roasted pumpkin seeds and crumbled cheese. Serve with vinaigrette.
Serves approximately 6-8 as a side salad.
Adapted from Elizabeth Falkner in Food & Wine (August 2000).