It’s corn season and fresh corn on the cob is available at a good price (4 ears for 99c last week) – so along with buying pounds and pounds of cherries (99c per pound!) I bought a lot of corn, too. Some we took to friends’ we visited in the mountains for the 4th of July holiday. Some we have been roasting on the grill. But I have been finding corn relish and corn salsa recipes in all of my cooking magazines. I also went through some of my veggie files. Some of the recipes are similar, almost alike. It leads me to believe you could make up your own corn relish primarily with whatever you happen to have on hand in the refrigerator. I started out “sort of” following one recipe and then noticed it didn’t have any tomato in it – and I wanted some tomato in mine – so at that point I was on my own. One thing that does work well although it lengthens the time it takes to make the entire dish is grilling the corn. Clean it and drizzle on a little olive oil – and then cook it on the grill until you get some charring , not too much. That took about 15 minutes.
(If you don’t have time to grill the corn, just cook it – you can wash it off and wrap it in a piece of wax paper, then cook in the microwave for a few minutes. It doesn’t have to be cooked a long time. Or boil a few ears in a pot for a few minutes).
Then I cut the corn off the cob. The original recipe called for a red bell pepper and green onions also being charred but the red bell pepper I have on hand is already diced and in the freezer, so I just used some of that. I didn’t have green onions so I chopped up a red one (besides, I wanted the additional color). Well, it turned out pretty good and even my son Kelly (who is a picky eater) liked it. I think this might be the kind of dish that also improves with a little time in the frig. If you have young children in the house who wouldn’t like raw onion, leave that out and go for the tomato and bell pepper for color.
I should also mention that I didn’t have any fresh cilantro but I dry my own and always have some on hand – so I used some of that instead. I do the same thing with green onion; after I buy fresh ones – and use some in a recipe – I chop up the rest and dry them on aluminum foil on a rack in my oven. I generally do the same thing with parsley and celery leaves – dry them out in the oven and then transfer to little jars.
Anyway, to make
ZESTY GRILLED CORN RELISH
You will need:
4 yellow corn cobs
1 red bell pepper, halved & seeded
1 small onion, halved
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground red pepper
Grill first 3 items on lightly greased grill rack over med-hi heat 10 minutes or until tender. Remove onion and bell pepper from grill & set aside. Grill corn 10 minutes more or until tender. Cool slightly. Cut corn from cob and place in bowl. Place bell pepper in a resealable plastic bag; seal and let stand 10 minutes to loosen skin. Remove charred skin.
Chop bell pepper and onion and add to corn. In a small bowl, combine cilantro with last 4 ingredients; toss with vegetables to coat. Serve as a side dish, atop grilled fish, pork, or chicken, or as a chunky salsa with tortilla chips.
Sandy’s cooknote: I like the addition of a medium size chopped ripe tomato. Also like the substitution of red onion instead of a white one–but if Vidalia onions were in season, I would certainly use one of those.
SPICY CORN RELISH
You will need:
2 ears young corn, kernels cut off
1/3 cup sweet gherkin pickle juice
¼ cup minced sweet gherkin pickles
¼ cup minced red onion
¼ cup minced red bell pepper
3 TBSP cider vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Put corn, pickle juice, pickles, onion pepper, vinegar, salt and pepper flakes in an 8” skillet over medium high heat. Stir well. Simmer 2 minutes. (Can be made several days in advance and refrigerated). To serve, mix well, drain off juices. Chill 1 hour before serving. Makes 4-5 servings
Sandy’s cooknote: Only 46 calories per serving and no fat! This makes a good Weight Watcher recipe.
FRESH CORN RELISH SERVED WITH GRILLED CHICKEN
You will need:
2 cups fresh corn, steamed and cut from cob
2 TBSP green bell peppers, chopped
1 TBSP onion finely chopped
1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained
½ cup sugar
½ cup white OR cider vinegar
¼ tsp celery seed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp mustard seed
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Mix corn, bell pepper, onion and pimientos in a medium size bowl. Heat remaining ingredients to boiling in saucepan, stirring occasionally. Boil 2 minutes. Pour over corn mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours for the flavors to blend, but no longer than 5 days. Serve chilled with freshly grilled chicken. Makes 2 cups
Sandy’s cooknote: I’d just as soon grill the corn as steam it – to get that slightly charred taste to the corn. But you know, if you have corn on the cob for dinner – and there’s anything left – cut it from the cob to makes 2 cups full and then make the corn relish for another meal.
AVOCADO CORN SALSA
You will need:
2 large tomatoes, peeled*, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper** seeded and diced
1 cup corn, cooked and cut from the cob
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro
2 TBSP lime juice
1 ripe avocado, seeded and chopped
In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except avocado. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Just before serving, stir avocado into tomato mixture. Transfer to serving bowl. Good with tortilla chips or on broiled chicken. Serves 6. Note: 48 calories per serving, 2 g. fat. Also a good low fat recipe and the fat is coming from the avocado – healthy fats!
Sandy’s cooknote: *I assume you know the easiest way to peel a tomato – but just in case you don’t – first cut an X into the bottom of the tomato. Either hold it (use a skewer or fork) over a flame for about a minute to loosen the skin. Let it cool enough to handle and then peel away the skin. Or using a slotted spoon, place the tomato into a pot of boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Place the tomato into a bowl of ice or run cold water over it for a minute. The skin should peel right off.
**If yellow bell peppers are $4.95 a pound, for heaven’s sake, use a cheaper green bell pepper. I like to buy the colored bell peppers when they are on sale CHEAP–then dice them up and keep them in bags in the freezer.
FULL MOON SALSA
The following recipe calls for two 15-oz cans of corn which, of course, you can use–but I think fresh corn steamed and cut off the cob would taste better. But note the ingredients – this is the kind of recipe you can make throughout the year; if fresh corn isn’t available, use canned. If you can’t get a Vidalia onion, use whatever kind of onion is available.
You will need:
2 15-oz cans black beans, drained
2 15-oz cans corn, drained
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped fine
1 large sweet onion (preferably Vidalia) chopped fine
½ cup very finely chopped cilantro leaves, or to taste*
1 TBSP minced jalapeno pepper, or to taste (optional)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP fresh lime juice or to taste
salt & pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve at cool room temperature with tortilla chips or sturdy crackers, or as a side dish. Makes 10 cups.
Sandy’s cooknote: *Cilantro is an acquired taste. A lot of people find it too strong – half a cup might be too much if you or your family aren’t used to it. And do chop it very fine. If you don’t like it, leave it out.
This next recipe is one I found in a magazine; it inspired me to start digging through my files and finding other corn relish recipes.
You will need:
2 TBSP olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
2 medium seeded jalapenos, finely chopped
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
3 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 TBSP honey
Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat; add onion and jalapeno and cook for 1 minute. Add corn and continue to cook until vegetables are slightly soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with remaining ingredients. Cool and serve at room temperature over grilled chicken or steak.