Charred Corn with Bacon, Chiles and Cheese
I’m just going to level with you here, summer in New York City is the WORST.
I hate to go into full-blown pity party mode, but I’m pretty miserable right now. NYC is dirty (so dirty!), and the humidity literally makes me want to die. Walking around the city feels like trying to make your way through a giant vat of hot soup, an experience that’s made even lovelier by warm water periodically dripping on your head/face from leaky air conditioning units.
Unless you’re Beyoncé, you probably can’t grill outside in NYC, make s’mores over an actual fire, or splash around in a pool. It makes me realize how spoiled I was as a kid, spending clean, humidity-free summers in California and Maine. It also explains why there’s a mass exodus from the city circa 4pm every Friday from Memorial day to Labor Day. Peeps gotta GTFO.
Emergency Recap: I’m hot, I’m (much) sweatier than normal, and my hair’s frizziness knows no bounds.
My roommate is the only person more uncomfortable than I am in the NYC heat, and he’s having a rough time adjusting to summer’s unfavorable conditions.
I mean, I complain about my perspiration “issues,” but I ain’t got nothin’ on Logan. The Dude’s been in a constant sticky sweat since early June, which is especially intense when he gets home at night after taking the subway. I learned a long time ago not to participate in Logan’s favorite game, affectionately known as “FEEL MY BACK!”
Do not want.
All of this sweating makes my roommate legitimately angry, and it’s led to some pretty intense meltdowns recently. For example, while walking to dinner on Tuesday night in the disgustingness that is 90 degrees and 95% humidity, Logan went on a profanity-laced rant about the “bullshit” weather before claiming that he would “murder someone” if the restaurant tried to make us sit outside. Needless to say, several unsuspecting West Villagers were terrified.
The worst part of being such a heat sensitive couple is that outdoor hand-holding is absolutely forbidden during the summer months. Skin on skin contact only exacerbates our sweating problem, and while I’m okay with slippery palms, Logan simply can’t handle it. You know I’m all hearts and rainbows now, so the PDA ban is rather devastating.
Since these conditions make it easy to become a serious Debbie Downer, I’ve started to do things that remind me why summer is actually a glorious season. I’ve been drinking a lot of sangria, wearing crop tops, and occasionally switching from Ludacris to “Summer Weekend” Pandora. On slightly cooler evenings, I try to sit on my fire escape with a glass of rosé to appreciate my apartment’s “outdoor space.” I take full advantage of my weekends, grill pretty much everything (although it’s usually in a grill pan), and I’ve been eating my weight in perfectly ripe strawberries, peaches, tomatoes and sweet corn.
In my attempt to celebrate the season, I went a little nuts with my corn purchase earlier this week, so I decided to get super festive with my bounty. Inspired by a recent recipe in Bon Appétit, I shucked my corn, fired up the grill pan, and less than 30 minutes later, I was doing a victory lap around my apartment with Charred Corn with Bacon, Chiles and Cheese in hand.
Straight up summer magic, friends.
Have you ever had Mexican street corn? If so, you know it’s outrageously delicious. If not, it’s basically grilled corn smothered in an epic blend of mayonnaise or Mexican crema, chili powder, and cotija, and usually served with fresh limes and a sprinkling of cilantro.
This salad has the same epic flavor profile of said street corn, except it’s lighter and fresher thanks to sliced chiles, no mayo (because I don’t like it), and lots of crispy bacon. Each bite is a flavor explosion that’s smoky, sweet, and slightly spicy with a refreshing citrus tang.
For the record, this salad tastes absolutely fantastic the next day, so feel free to prep it in advance for fancy soirees and/or get creative with the leftovers. (Just wait to add the bacon until right before serving so that it stays good and crispy.) It’s the perfect side dish for all your summer grilling favorites, and you should also put it on every taco ever. Seriously.
There’s currently a giant bowl of this salad chilling in the fridge (alongside a grilled skirt steak) for my roommate’s dinner this evening. Logan, I hope this discovery makes up for the fact that I’m bailing on our dinner plans to go to a Katy Perry Concert…
Get on this corn salad, stat. Make it like your birthday everyday.
Charred Corn with Bacon, Chiles and Cheese: (Serves 4)
4 ears corn, shucked
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Juice from 1½ limes
2 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
2 small shallots, thinly sliced into rings
5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
½ red chile (i.e. Holland or Fresno), thinly sliced into rings (You can also use a small jalapeño pepper if you prefer.)
1/3 cup cilantro leaves (I left them whole, but feel free to chop them if you like!)
2 ounces Cotija, queso fresco, or feta cheese, crumbled
Preparing your Charred Corn with Bacon, Chiles and Cheese (aka Mexican Street Corn Salad):
-Let’s start by heating a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Brush your shucked ears of corn with 2 tablespoons oil and a good sprinkling of salt.
-When the grill is hot, add the corn and cook for about 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until very tender and charred in spots. (Please be a helicopter chef here, peeps. You don’t want to completely char your corn.)
-Remove corn from the grill and set aside to cool.
-While your corn is cooling, combine the remaining tablespoon oil, lime juice, garlic and shallots in a mixing bowl. Let stand for 5-10 minutes.
-Once the corn has cooled, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cobs.
-Add the corn to the mixing bowl along with the crumbled bacon and cilantro.
-Gently toss to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
-Transfer the corn salad to a serving bowl/platter and top with cheese. (You can also mix the cheese in if you like.)
Get down on it.
*Recipe inspired by the always fabulous Bon Appétit‘s Global Grilling Issue.
- 4 ears corn shucked
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- Juice from 1½ limes
- 2 garlic cloves grated or finely minced
- 2 small shallots thinly sliced into rings
- 5 slices cooked bacon crumbled
- ½ red chile i.e. Holland or Fresno, thinly sliced into rings (You can also use a small jalapeño pepper if you prefer.)
- 1/3 cup cilantro leaves I left them whole, but feel free to chop them if you like!
- 2 ounces Cotija queso fresco, or feta cheese, crumbled
- Kosher Salt
Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat and brush your shucked ears of corn with 2 tablespoons oil and a good sprinkling of salt.
When the grill is hot, add the corn and cook for about 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until very tender and charred in spots. Remove corn from the grill and set aside to cool.
While your corn is cooling, combine the remaining tablespoon oil, lime juice, garlic and shallots in a mixing bowl. Let stand for 5-10 minutes.
Once cool, use a sharp knife to remove the corn kernels from the cobs.
Add the corn kernels to the mixing bowl along with the crumbled bacon and cilantro, and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the corn salad to a serving bowl/platter and top with cheese. (You can also mix the cheese in if you like.) Serve at room temperature or chilled.
I’m thrilled to be a part of Food Network’s Summer Soirée event this week. For more kickass corn recipes, check out my favorite blogs below.
The Lemon Bowl: Corn on the Cob with Lemon Basil
Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Corn on the Cob with Honey-Basil Butter
The Heritage Cook: Mexican Elote Corn Casserole (Gluten-Free)
The Cultural Dish: New England Seafood Boil
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Corn with Tomato Basil “Butter” (Vegan)
Devour: 4 Cobs, 4 Ways
Daily*Dishin: Quick Thyme Corn Cobbettes
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Farmers Market Salad with Grilled Corn
Red or Green: Grilled Corn on the Cob
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Buttery Corn on the Cob
Weelicious: Cheesy Corn on the Cob
Swing Eats: Corn Pasta with Fresh Summer Corn, Tomatoes and Chives
Haute Apple Pie: Roasted Corn off the Cob Salad
Taste With The Eyes: Grilled Corn, Soy Mirin Glaze and Wasabi Goat Butter
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Corn and Lemon Thyme Ice Cream + Homemade Creamed Corn
FN Dish: Off-the-Chart Corn on the Cob Recipes
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