the perfect summer salad

Here’s a confession…I may be a little obsessed with grilling vegetables, especially corn.  In the last 5 days, I’ve grilled it three times. I think I have a problem. But it is so, so good. Oh, and oops, corn is not a vegetable but a grain. So I guess in order to redeem myself I should tell you I’ve also grilled, three times, a bunch of different peppers in the last five days. Uh oh, they have seeds…does that make them a fruit? Hmmm.  Okay. Let’s rephrase this. I have a ‘grilling‘ problem. So much so that I have taken over grilling responsibilities at my house, and at friend’s. On Sunday we went to a lovely bbq for our friends Tim and Sasha.  I commandeered the grill. That might have been Mike’s job but I kicked him off. So instead of grilling, he drank most of my Mike’s Hard Margaritas.  Worked out okay since I was the driver.  In addition to keeping people away from the grill, I brought this salad.  If I tell you everyone loved it, I truly mean EVERYONE loved it. The cutest comment was from a man I just met at the party who said, “You had me at jicama.” It was so cute and so funny…so funny I’m laughing now as I type this.  In addition to the fact that he loved my salad, he had such an interesting background. I immediately fell in platonic love.  I love meeting new people who are smart, funny and wildly interesting.  And I love sharing good food with people.  So, the moral of this story is that I made a handful of new friends because this salad was the the jumping off point for many interesting conversations.  If you have a party coming up or need to bring a dish to a picnic/bbq…bring this.  I guarantee instant admiration and new friends.  

And to my friends attending Mr. Richter’s 70th birthday party this weekend…you’ve been warned. I’m bringing this salad.  And I’m expecting some extra love.

Grilled Corn Salad
serves 12-14 as a side

5 ears of corn, shucked and silks removed
2 tbsp canola oil
2 pints of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
1 medium sweet onion {walla walla or vidala}, diced
1 medium jicama, peeled and diced
2 bunches of radishes, ends removed and thinly sliced {I used white radishes}
1 lb. sugar snap peas, stings removed, sliced thinly vertically
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
juice of 1 lime
1 – 10 oz package of cotija cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard 
1 tsp finely granulated sugar
Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
½ cup basil leaves {I used opal basil}, julienned

Brush corn with oil and grill over medium heat on a grill until all sides have light char marks, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and let cool.  

In a large bowl, add tomatoes, onion, jicama, radishes, snap peas and bell pepper. Using a paring knife, remove corn kernels from cob and add to the bowl.  In a small bowl, gently toss avocado with lime juice then add to the corn and vegetable mixture. Add cheese

In a small bowl, add vinegar and slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking consistently.  Add garlic, mustard and sugar; whisk to incorporate.  Salt and pepper to taste. Add to salad; toss gently.  Top with basil and serve. 

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