April 21, 2010 in Features

Grilled corn makes great salsa substitute

Summer staple a cheaper alternative to tomatoes
Ryan King Associated Press
 

With tomatoes in short supply and prices high, a simple bowl of fresh salsa can start to feel a bit like a luxury item. So maybe it’s time to ditch the tomatoes and try another of summer’s stars as the main ingredient.

This recipe for grilled corn and red onion salsa uses inexpensive frozen corn kernels, grilling them on a cedar plank to add plenty of flavor. When available, corn on the cob is even better. Simply rub each ear with oil and grill over medium heat until lightly browned. Slice off the kernels using a serrated knife, then proceed with the recipe.

Cedar planks for grilling are widely available at most grocers, usually near the meat or seafood departments. You also can use cedar shingles from the hardware store, but be certain they have not been treated or stained with anything. All planks should be soaked in water for about 30 minutes before grilling.

Cedar-Grilled Corn and Red Onion Salsa

10-ounce bag frozen corn kernels

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (with or without seeds, according to taste)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

1 large red onion, halved

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

About 30 minutes before grilling, soak a cedar plank in water. You may need to weigh it down to keep it submerged.

When ready to grill, heat all areas of the grill to medium.

In a medium bowl, combine the corn, jalapeno, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Toss well to coat.

Carefully spoon the mixture in an even layer on the cedar plank. Place the plank on one side of the grill, and reduce the heat on that side of the grill to low. Cover the grill and cook for 10 minutes.

Rub the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil over the slices of red onion. Place the onion on the other side of the grill (the side still set to medium). Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the corn and onion from the grill and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the cumin, chili powder and red wine vinegar. Add the scallion and cilantro, then mix. When the corn and onion have cooled, chop the onion, then add both to the bowl.

Mix well, then season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or refrigerate until cool.

Yield: 3 cups

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