Salad of Grilled Corn, Snap Peas, Red Bell Pepper and Grape Tomatoes in a White Balsamic & Honey Vinaigrette
By Heidi Allison
A play of contrasting textures and flavors make this salad anything but boring! The crisp texture and sweet flavor of the fresh snap peas is the perfect counterpoint to the soft, slightly smoky taste of the freshly grilled corn, while the red bell pepper and grape tomatoes impart a slightly sweet, acidic grace note to the finished dish. Serrano chili lends bit of heat. Yet…the secret ingredient that grabs your attention is—the basil.
If possible, use a variety of Snap Peas that do not contain strings, which makes the prep work much faster (The good news is, most snap peas sold in the retail market today are stringless). While you can substitute Chinese Snow Peas in a pinch, this pea has a tough string on one side that must be removed before eating—that really amps up your prep time. Snow peas are also not as sweet and lack the crunchy, crisp texture that makes this simple salad so refreshing.
Most of the prep work is cutting, which can be done in advance but grill the corn just before serving since its residual heat releases more aroma from the basil. The healthy dressing contains no oil and none is needed in this dish; the small amount of oil that remains on the grilled corn is enough to “marry” its flavors. A very light, satisfying and healthy starter (or, main) for 2017.
Serves: 2 as entrée; 4 as a side
2 ears Fresh Corn, shucked and cut from cobb
2 teaspoons Sunflower Oil
8 ounces Snap Peas, ends trimmed and cut in half on the bias
1 Red Bell Pepper, ¼ inch dice
4 ounces Organic Grape Tomatoes, cut in halves
½ Serrano Chile, seeded and minced in ¼ inch dice (optional)
1 bunch Fresh Basil
2 tablespoons Good-Quality White Balsamic Vinegar
4 tablespoons Water
2 teaspoons Honey
Pinch of Kosher Flake Salt
Place the vinegar, honey, salt and water in a small bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds. Stir to dissolve the honey and set aside.
Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat till hot. Place corn in skillet, add sunflower oil and stir to coat. Grill till brown specks appear—about 7 minutes. Remove from pan and set side.
Place corn, snap peas, red bell pepper and Serrano chile in a large salad bowl. Whisk dressing to combine and pour over salad, then toss to coat.
Tear basil into bite-size pieces and add to salad. Gently toss salad ingredients again to coat with dressing.