Let’s talk about corn. And we don’t mean boxed muffin mixes or the oily hardened batter that separates basic hot dogs from “corn” dogs. We’re talking fresh-off-the-cob kernels of golden summer corn — or “maize,” as it’s known in its native Mexico. After decades of commercialized farming, we’ve come to think of this ubiquitous crop as the bane of our healthy-eating efforts, reduced to greasy convenience foods and high-fructose corn syrup — the insidious sweetening agent hidden in many shelf-stable products. It’s safe to say the crop’s image is in a state of crisis. We’ve forgotten that, in its purest incarnation, this ancient grain was destined for greatness. Take these seven corn salads, for example, each one paired with more peak-season produce, such as juicy tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and fresh basil. This is exactly the kind of corn renaissance we’ve been waiting for.
Fresh Corn Salad
It doesn’t get any fresher than Ina Garten’s crunchy corn salad. Submerging the quick-boiled cobs in an ice bath may seem like a tedious extra step, but we swear by it. Not only does it stop the cooking right away, but it also preserves the beautiful yellow color for your salad.
Grilled Corn with Lime, Red Chili Powder and Cotija
Bobby Flay likes his corn salad hot off the grill and, preferably, piled onto a juicy steak. Grill the corn in its own husks to protect it before taking the smoky kernels off the cob and tossing them with Cotija cheese, lime juice, ancho chili powder and creme fraiche.
Fresh Corn-Tomato Salad
This hearty summer salad showcases two peak-season crops: corn and tomatoes. For optimal flavor, use the freshest corn and tomatoes you can find, and toss in chunks of silky mozzarella cheese for the perfect milky complement.
Black Bean and Corn Salad
Rachael Ray’s foolproof cookout side requires just 10 minutes of prep work with the right vegetables on hand. Combine the corn kernels, black beans, red onion and any other vegetable you desire, then brighten it up with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Ina creates this beautiful sunny salad by combining only the freshest corn with orange bell pepper. The earthier flavor notes of fresh basil, parsley and minced chives help to balance the sweet produce.
Farro and Corn Salad
Food Network Magazine’s recipe combines juicy charred corn, tomatoes and nutty farro for a hearty summer salad with great chewy texture. You’ll likely find farro with the whole grains in your grocery store (near the quinoa), but if you can’t, barley is an excellent stand-in.
Charred Corn Panzanella
Food Network Kitchen chefs put a healthier spin on this filling summer salad by using whole-grain boule in place of refined white bread. Sweet balsamic vinegar and serrano chiles lend bold flavor notes to this otherwise delicate mix of corn, tomatoes and cilantro.
Get your fill of fresh summer corn with more great recipes and ideas from our friends:
The Lemon Bowl: Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Beans and Corn
Devour: Fire Up the Grill for a Mexican Grilled Corn Fiesta
Feed Me Phoebe: Sweet and Spicy Gluten-Free Corn Pasta with Ricotta and Chives
Creative Culinary: Grilled Corn Salsa with Poblano Chiles, Cilantro and Honey
TasteBook: Esquites (Mexican-Style Corn Salad)
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Corn, Pluot and Grape Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: A Cornucopia of Corn Recipes For Summer
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Easy Homemade Creamed Corn
FN Dish: If You Cook Any Corn This Summer, Make It One of These 5-Star Recipes