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Grilled Sweet Corn Salsa

I love grilling.  Oh, I don’t grill, myself.  But it’s one of the only ways to get my husband to do the cooking.

That’s not the only reason I like it though.  Everything tastes better after it’s been on the barbecue.  The smoky, caramelized flavor that comes from food cooked on a direct flame is so summery and redolent of the great outdoors.  And cooking outdoors (and eating on the balcony) makes me feel like I’m channeling Ina Garten, strangely.  Speaking of whom, did you all see the last episode of this season’s 30 Rock and Ina Garten’s cameo?  LOVED it.

I’ve been trying to cook with more variety on the grill, so that cooking on the barbecue isn’t just a meat-fest with burgers and sausages.  So last night I decided to grill a piece of wild salmon, and since white corn is in season, I bought a few ears to grill alongside.

While I personally like corn-on-the-cob, I always get stuff stuck between my teeth when I’m trying to tear off those corn kernels, so I decided to cut the kernels off and toss it with some avocados, tomatoes, onion, cilantro and lime juice.  The resulting salsa?  Phenomenal.  Absolutely better than I thought it would be.  The sweetness of the white corn marries perfectly with the tartness of the lime juice, with the avocados giving it some creaminess.  We had it on top of the salmon, but I could have sat there and eaten the whole bowl of corn salsa by itself.  I loved the hint of smokiness imparted by grilling, but you could make this salsa with boiled corn too with great results.

We tried grilling 2 ears of corn with husks on, and 1 ear of corn without the husks, and we both liked the corn grilled in the husk.  The husks seemed to protect the corn kernels from drying out too much, leaving them plump even after grilling, and the corn still got those lovely grill marks through the husk.  It gets a bit messy when you’re trying to pull the charred husks off the corn though, so you might want to do it outside.  Alternatively, you could boil the corn first, and then finish the ears on the grill.

Grilled Corn Salsa

3 large ears sweet white corn
1 avocado (ripe but not mushy), diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 juicy lime (or two not-so-juicy limes)

Preheat the grill on medium. Pull off all of the corn husks except for 2 layers next to the corn kernels. Be sure to remove all of the corn silk (this will catch fire). Place corn on grill. Cover and cook on medium to medium-low (depending on your barbecue) for 10-15 minutes, turning frequently, until kernels are soft and husks are charred. Check frequently to ensure husks aren’t catching fire, and keep a spray bottle on hand for flare-ups.

When cooked, remove corn from grill. Cool a few minutes, then use a sharp knife to slice off the kernels into a bowl. Combine with avocado, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, onion and lime juice. Season with salt to taste.

Serve warm, or let cool to room temperature before serving.

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