I Know This May Sound Corny...

It  was a steamy 94 degrees in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday and after a day hawking Cowgirl Granola at the New Braunfels Farm to Market, all I could think about was cold food.

Watermelon. Ceviche. Peaches. Cucumbers. Gazpacho (the tomatoes need a few more weeks before I can make this). Salad.

Yes, these are the things I crave in the sweltering summer heat.

And since we've just celebrated Memorial Day weekend and it's officially summer, why not fire up the grill and make one of my favorite salads of all time?

We've been making this for ourselves and dinner guests for many years and everyone always flips over it. Hearts of palm, grilled corn, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce and a fab dressing?

What's not to love about that?

It's good enough to make a meal of, but also perfect for a healthy and delicious starter before dinner or could be served as a salad with dinner. Plus, you can make most of it ahead of time and still have time to enjoy your company.

And when it's too hot to eat much else, this salad is a perfectly satisfying meal.

Buen provecho!

Tomato, Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad with Grilled Corn
The Cowgirl Gourmet only mildly adapted this recipe from Steven Raichlen's BBQ USA cookbook

Print recipe

Serves 4 people as salads or 2-3 as entrees

2 ears sweet corn, shucked
4 Tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
1 fresh or pickled jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, optional
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley or combination
1/2 of a 14-ounce can or jar of hearts of palm, drained and rinsed
1/2 a pint grape or cherry tomatoes, rinsed and stemmed
1 avocado, sliced or sliced into chunks
1 head Boston or Bibb lettuce (see my hydroponic Boston lettuce I got at the farmers market below), 1 bunch fresh watercress or a combination of the two, rinsed and dried

Get the grill ready by adding charcoal and lighting it or turning on the gas of a gas grill.

When ready to cook, brush the corn with 1 Tablespoon EVOO and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the corn on the hot grate and grill until the kernels are nicely browned on all sides, 2-3 minutes per side for a total of 8-12 minutes.

Transfer the corn to a cutting board and let cool.

I like to take a cotton kitchen towel or a few scot towerls and lay it on the cutting board so it will catch the corn kernels as they fall off the cob. Hold the corn perpendicular to the cutting board and, using lengthwise strokes of a chef's knife, cut the corn off the cob. When you are done, you should have about 1 1/3 cups of grilled corn.

In a non-reactive mixing bowl or jar, combine the garlic, mustard, brown sugar, lime juice, vinegar and jalapeno. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Whisk or shake until the salt dissolves.

Whisk in the remaining 3 Tablespoons of EVOO in a thin stream. If you are using a jar to make the dressing, just give a vigorous shake until everything seems emulsified.

Then add the corn kernels and the fresh herbs (either cilantro or parsley or a combination). Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or pepper and/or oil and/or vinegar as necessary. The dressing should be highly seasoned. It will also be quite thick...more like dressed grilled corn.

Cut the hearts of palm lengthwise into halves or quarters or into rounds or on the bias. If using cherry tomatoes, cut each one in half; grape tomatoes may be left whole.

Line 4 salad plates or, if serving family style, line a large platter with lettuce. Arrange the hearts of palm, tomatoes and avocado slices or chunks on top of the lettuce. Chill until ready to dress the salad.

Just before serving, spoon the dressing on top, add a bit more freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.


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