I didn’t forget the veg, Dad! This is a simple salad to pull together anytime and great one to have on hand as you can easily add and subtract ingredients (except maybe the corn) and come up with a winner! I skewed this one to go with the mostly Mexican themed Dad’s Day lunch. You could also sub the poblano chile for diced grilled zucchini, the Cotija cheese for feta, and the cilantro for basil and you’d have a lovely salad for a Mediterranean-style meal – look at that, I just gave you two recipes in one!
What are these things of which you write, Jeff? Cotija? Poblano? If you are not familiar with Cotija cheese… well, I don’t know what to say, except you are missing out. Cotija is a robust, dry, Mexican cow’s milk cheese with a taste similar to Parmesan or feta. It’s the white crumbly stuff that’s sprinkled over the top of your Mexican food plate.
Poblano chilies are often called Pasilla chilies in parts of the country; they are also Ancho chilies in their dried form (why do they do that?). Poblanos are the chilies that are the star of Chile Rellenos (this recipe is similar to the one my aunt Leticia used to make). They are usually near the jalapenos in the produce section and look like a very dark green and misshapen bell pepper. Don’t be scared… they are very mild in flavor.
Summer Corn Salad with Poblano Chile and Cotija Cheese
serves six to eight
4 ears fresh corn, shucked and cleaned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Poblano chile
1 medium red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (or feta)
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed
Turn on grill to medium-high heat. Rub the corn with the olive oil season with salt and pepper. Place on grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until some light charring happens. Remove and set aside to cool. Turn the heat to high. Grill-roast the Poblano and the red bell pepper, turning often, until the skin is charred all over (about 5 minutes). Remove from the grill and place in a paper bag or a sealed container until they are cool enough to touch. Once cooled, peel away the skin, remove the stem and seeds, and then chop; set aside.
While the peppers roast, cut the corn from the cobs and place the kernels in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled and chopped peppers, onion and Cotija cheese. Stir together the lime juice, oil, cumin, oregano and cayenne, drizzle over the salad and give a good toss; taste for seasoning. Just before serving, toss in the cilantro leaves.
Cheers and Happy Father’s Day!