Imagine the warm sun on your face, the sound of laughter in the air, and the irresistible aroma of grilled corn wafting through the backyard. Summer is the time for fresh, vibrant flavors, and there’s nothing quite like the taste of sweet corn straight from the cob. If you’re looking for a recipe that captures the essence of summer, look no further than this tantalizing Charred Corn and White Bean Salad.
A Mouthwatering Combination
This recipe draws inspiration from my dad’s famous grilled corn salad. Every summer, he conjures up a masterpiece featuring an ever-changing array of ingredients, from red onions and chili peppers to tomatoes and Indian spices. It’s a crowd-pleaser that leaves everyone speechless.
With this Charred Corn and White Bean Salad, I’ve taken my dad’s culinary genius and added my own twist. This salad brings together the best of raw and charred corn, juicy cherry tomatoes, marinated red onions and jalapeños, creamy avocados, hearty white beans, fragrant basil, and a generous squeeze of lime juice and extra virgin olive oil. It’s a symphony of flavors that will transport you to summer bliss with every bite.
Why You’ll Fall in Love
- Easy to make but gourmet: While this salad packs a gourmet punch, it’s surprisingly simple to prepare. With just nine everyday ingredients, you can create a culinary masterpiece that will impress your guests.
- Light yet satisfying: Made with fresh corn, tomatoes, onions, and basil, this salad is light and refreshing, perfect for those hot summer days. But don’t be fooled by its lightness; the addition of white beans and avocado gives it a satisfying heartiness that can turn it into a main course.
- The epitome of summer: This salad captures the essence of summer in every bite. The sweetness of fresh corn complements the spiciness of jalapeño peppers and the tanginess of lime juice. It’s a symphony of flavors that celebrates the best of the season.
- Weeknight friendly: With just 25 minutes of preparation from start to finish, you can have this delectable meal on the table in no time.
Unveiling the Ingredients
To create this masterpiece, let’s take a closer look at the stars of the show:
- Fresh corn: When it comes to minimal ingredient recipes, quality matters. During the summer, fresh corn is an absolute must. It’s sweet, crisp, and affordable, making it the perfect choice for this salad.
- Red onions and jalapeños: To enhance the flavors of the onions, we marinate them in lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. This quick marinade softens the texture and mellows the pungency. Jalapeños add a subtle heat that brings the salad to life.
- Lime juice and extra virgin olive oil: With so few ingredients, it’s crucial to use the best-quality ingredients you can find. Fresh lime juice and high-quality extra virgin olive oil add brightness and depth to the salad.
- Cherry tomatoes: Bursting with sweetness and juiciness, cherry tomatoes are the perfect addition to this salad. They provide a delightful contrast to the chewiness of the corn.
- White beans: While the salad is delicious without beans, adding white beans gives it an extra touch of heartiness, making it a satisfying meal on its own. Cannellini beans are my preferred choice, but feel free to experiment with other varieties.
- Avocado: Creamy, rich, and packed with nutrients, avocado adds another layer of decadence to this salad. The combination of avocado, corn, and tomatoes is a match made in heaven.
- Basil: Fresh basil brings a burst of summer freshness and flavor to the salad. A little goes a long way, as the fragrance of basil permeates every bite.
Mastering the Recipe
Creating this Charred Corn and White Bean Salad is a breeze. Here’s a quick rundown of the process:
- Marinate the onions and jalapeños: Start by marinating the red onions and jalapeños in a tangy mixture of lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let the flavors meld together for about 20 minutes.
- Shave the corn: Husk the corn and shave off the kernels. If you want to learn how to do it without creating a mess, check out this helpful YouTube video.
- Char half of the corn kernels: Set aside half of the corn kernels and leave them raw. Take the remaining half and char them for added depth and flavor. A simple sauté in a cast iron skillet with a drizzle of olive oil does the trick. If you have a grill, feel free to grill the whole ears of corn before shaving the kernels.
- Mix and enjoy: Once the onions and jalapeños have marinated and the corn is beautifully charred, it’s time to bring everything together. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste, and get ready to indulge in the flavors of summer.
Feel free to get creative and explore substitutions to suit your taste:
- Red onion: If you’re not a fan of red onions, shallots make a delicious substitute.
- Jalapeños: For those seeking more heat, substitute jalapeños with serrano peppers. They bring a fiery kick to the salad.
- Cherry tomatoes: While cherry tomatoes shine in this salad, you can experiment with other varieties like heirloom tomatoes or any other ripe summer tomatoes. Just dice them finely for even distribution.
- White beans: Don’t worry if you don’t have white beans on hand. Chickpeas or black beans make great alternatives.
Pro Tips to Elevate Your Salad Game
To make the most of this recipe, keep these tips in mind:
- Season at every stage: With a minimal ingredient list, it’s crucial to season the salad at each stage. Season the onions and jalapeños during the marinating process, then season again when you add the corn. Just before serving, sprinkle some salt and pepper after incorporating the basil and avocado. The abundant seasoning enhances the flavors and elevates the taste.
- Manage the heat: If you don’t have a large cast iron skillet, it’s best to char the corn in two batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Properly charred corn creates a delightful mixture of textures.
- Avocado freshness: If you’re not planning to consume the entire salad in one sitting, add avocado only to the portion you’ll eat that day. By doing so, you’ll prevent it from browning and ensure a fresh and appealing presentation. Add fresh avocado when serving any leftovers.
If you’re ready to embark on a culinary journey that celebrates the beauty of summer, give this Charred Corn and White Bean Salad a try. Be sure to tag me on Instagram with your creations, and don’t forget to share your feedback below. It’s time to savor the flavors of the season!