(Sort of improvised) Summer Corn Salad

Way back in the 90s, I did a summer stint in Houston as a nanny for a wee boy. His name was Michael. I thought of him today when I was surrounded by recent law school grads studying for the bar at the coffeeshop where I dissertate. (Part of the reason I was Michael’s nanny was that his dad had stayed behind in Austin to study for and take the bar while mom started a new job in Houston.) During that summer, I had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with my mom’s cousin, Margie Lou. Her son, Joel, is, to this day, one of my dearest and most beloved friends.

One weekend afternoon at Margie Lou’s house in Sugarland, she made a very delightful summer lunch, which we ate on her patio. There was really tasty chicken salad and a corn salad I still remember fondly to this day. She gave me the recipe way back then and I made it once or twice, but I lost it somewhere along the road of life. Tonight I thought I’d try to replicate the recipe, based on my memory of it and with a few adaptations.

Summer Corn Salad
3-4 ears of corn
1-2 avocados
1 tomato
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 fresh jalapeno
1 cucumber
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp organic cane sugar
2 T canola oil
2 T red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the corn in boiling water, about 10 minutes or so. While the corn cooks, cut up the vegetables and place them in a large bowl. By the time you’re done with that, the corn should be done. Using a pair of tongs, remove the cobs from the hot water and place them under cool running water (this will make it a little less painful to cut the still-hot cobs; your other option is to let them cool completely before cutting). Cut the kernels from the cobs and add them to the bowl of veggies. Add the lemon juice and seasonings to the bowl and mix.

You could adapt this recipe in about a million different ways. I thought about adding a can of beans (if you do, make sure you’ve rinsed them to cut down on the sodium, and consider using Eden Organics, which have BPA-free cans). You could add more jalapeno pepper and a pinch of cayenne to give it some zing, substitute other bell peppers to give it more color, add more corn, whatever. It’s a really versatile dish and is best served chilled and after the flavors have had some time to marry. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t eat a generous helping of it right after taking this picture.