Just in Time for Mother’s Day and Summer: Melissa Clark’s Make-Ahead Corn Salad

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Busy. Frantic. Schizophrenic. Over-booked. These are the modifiers that pop into my head while looking at my May/June calendar. Teacher appreciation lunches, SAT and AP tests, Mother’s Day, @dormantchef’s birthday, Memorial Day Weekend, my birthday, my daughter’s graduation, BlogherFood (I’m speaking!) and the list could go on.

But I know I’m not alone in this frenzy. So what do you prepare in the midst of this commotion when asked to bring salad for 20 people to the teacher appreciation lunch or you’re hosting your mother’s celebration or the annual Memorial Day barbecue? Make Melissa Clark’s Corn Salad.

Melissa Clark's Corn Salad

Doesn’t it just scream summer?

From her warmly and expertly written cookbook Cook This Now, which is organized by month and season, this recipe is in the summer section, calling for fresh corn on the cob. But that didn’t stop me. First off, the thermometer reads summer in California right now though my local grocer and farmer’s market didn’t read the temp charts – no fresh corn. That didn’t stop me. Off to the frozen aisle I went. High quality frozen fish is often better than the “fresh” fish you find at the fish counter so I was hoping that high quality frozen organic corn might follow suit. It worked.

Could this salad be even better with fresh corn? Absolutely. But can you offset the lack of fresh corn with other bright summery ingredients? Absolutely.

And here’s the best part – the dish can sit out or in the fridge for hours with no spoilage and only a continual improvement in flavor.

So if the only time you can prepare that dish for 20 for the teacher appreciation lunch or your Mother’s Day barbecue is at 6AM before the frenzy begins, make this salad. If you are looking for a versatile colorful side dish that screams summer and  marries with an array of main dishes from chipotle steak tacos to barbecue to a vegetarian buffet, make this salad.

Melissa Clark's Corn Salad

Here’s how:

Corn Salad with Tomatoes, Avocado, Edamame, and Cilantro Lime Dressing

Adapted closely to Melissa Clark’s recipe in Cook This Now
Prep: 20 – 30 minutes max.
Serves: about 12 – 20 depending on content of meal or vastness of buffet
  • (3) 16 oz packages of sweet frozen corn, preferably organic, white or yellow or a mix **
  • (1) 10 – 16oz package of frozen edamame beans (shelled)
  • 1/3 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 or 3 limes)
  • 2 – 4 garlic cloves minced (depends how garlicky you like it)
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp pepper, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 4 – 6 avocados, diced
  • 1 ½ pints of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 4 – 6 scallions/green onions finely chopped
  • ½ cup of chopped cilantro

Optional additions:

  • 1 fresh jalapeno finely minced (Melissa suggests this as an addition – I used it the first time and it was just the right bite of spicy but depends on your taste)
  • Hearts of Palm – if you’ve never tried these slightly bizarre stalks that you can find in cans or jars, give them a try. My daughter likes them plain but I’ve made avocado, tomato and hearts of palm salad with a lemony dressing and it’s a crowd pleaser. I think they would make a nice addition in this salad as well. Just slice the stalk into bite size pieces.

1. If using frozen corn and edamame, put it all in a bowl large enough to hold the finished salad but small enough to fit in the microwave, if possible. Don’t need to cook the corn, just take the chill off of it. Or, just let it sit out and defrost or leave it in the fridge to defrost.

Melissa Clark's Corn Salad

2. Make the dressing by squeezing the lime juice into a bowl, add the chopped garlic, salt and pepper, then whisk in the olive oil. Set this aside and let the flavors blend.

Melissa Clark's Corn Salad

3. Now prep the rest of your vegetables – cut your cherry tomatoes in half, slice the green onions finely, chop your cilantro, cut the avocado into largish bite size pieces so it doesn’t mush in the salad and if using jalapeno or hearts of palm, dice and slice as well.

4. Add the tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro (jalapeno and hearts of palm if using) to the corn and edamame mixture and combine gently, then add the avocado and dressing and combine well but gingerly so as not to mush the avocado. Now just cover and either place in the fridge or even leave it on the counter for a few hours if fridge space is spare.

Melissa Clark's Corn Salad

Doesn’t it just scream summer?

** If you have fresh corn, 3 ears serves about 4 – 6 according to Melissa, so if preparing for a crowd, triple that. She suggests either boiling or microwaving the stalks. Another method that will just make this salad sing with flavor, is to put some olive oil, salt, and pepper on the corn and either grill it or even broil it until it is starting to brown vigorously all over. Then cut the kernels off the ears after they cool a bit. The flavors of roasted/grilled corn are so intense that it takes the salad to another whole level of greatness. Try it, you’ll like it!

Happy Mother’s Day and may your spring gently and calmly turn into summer.

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10 Responses to Just in Time for Mother’s Day and Summer: Melissa Clark’s Make-Ahead Corn Salad

  1. lizthechef May 11, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I adore Melissa Clark and her cookbooks – this is classic MC and I’m eager to make it once the good corn arrives.

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) May 11, 2012 at 9:41 am #

      It’s as lovely to look at as it is to eat! I love reading her recipes!

  2. Carol Sacks May 11, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    Looks wonderful, Beth. We are getting California-grown corn, so I look forward to trying this soon.

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) May 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

      Oh the farmer’s market near me is so anemic but hopefully it will get corn soon I’ll find it at my local grocer soon!

  3. LIsa May 12, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    Wow–those pics are awesome! Was just finishing up my grocery list and I can’t wait to make this. Stopping by from Saturday Sharefest–have a great weekend!

    • Beth (OMG! Yummy) May 12, 2012 at 11:53 am #

      Thanks Lisa – please stop back and let me know how you liked it if you make it ok? Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely mother’s day weekend!

  4. Kristi at Disney Insider Tips May 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Oh, I so want to make this. So glad I found you on SITS!

  5. Love To Crochet May 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    I make a simular cold corn salad. Not too big on cilantro, used dill instead. Pretty tasty.

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  1. Five Easy Recipe Ideas for Memorial Day Weekend « OMG! Yummy - May 23, 2012

    [...] Melissa Clark’s Corn Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing: Posted just a couple of weeks ago, I’ve already heard from a couple readers that this corn [...]

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