Blackened Corn & Pepper Salsa
Corn was 50 cents a cob at the farmers market this weekend, so you better believe I stocked up!
My all-time favorite way to eat corn is a quick parboil in salted water, and then finishing it on the grill. It’s fast, easy, and can be parboiled in advance so that when dinner time comes the corn can be ready in less than 20 minutes. Add a smear of butter and a generous sprinkle of black pepper, and you’ve got late summer perfection!
Of course that’s not the only way I eat it though! Corn is also amazing in soups, chowders, puddings, breads, salads, sauces and more! I’ve even eaten it in raviolis! This weekend though I decided to try something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: a fresh, grilled, corn salsa. I started by throwing a red pepper, two poblano peppers, a jalapeno, and two corn cobs directly on the grill grates (oiled first, of course!)
I let them cook over the a medium flame until the corn kernels started to blacken in places, and the peppers had lots of charred crispy spots. Normally, after cooking like this, I’ll wrap the peppers in plastic so that I can easily slip the skins off. This time though I let them cool without being wrapped. This actually helped to dry them out a bit, which kept my salsa from getting soupy. Leaving the skins on also imparted lots of delicious smoky flavor to my salsa.
Before I added any of the other ingredients to the corn, I used a potato masher to smash some of the kernels in the bowl. I didn’t completely destroy them, but I did crush them down enough so that they released some of their starch. This actually helps with keeping the salsa from getting watery later on, as the starch in corn is a thickener. Some salsas are better a little soupy, this one though I was aiming for a chunky, crunchy pop with every bite. After I finished smashing down the corn I added the rest of my veggies: a seeded tomato, an onion, some cilantro, a dash of chili powder and a squeeze of lime juice.
I call for seeding the tomato in this recipe, as the pulp in the tomato will break down quickly when exposed to acid from the lime, and can make the salsa get runny. There are two basic ways of seeding a tomato. The first involves cutting it into quarters, and then using a sharp knife to cut the pulp from the flesh, leaving nice, flat pieces of tomato that can then be cut into perfect squares. This works great, but it gets rid of a lot more than just the pulp, as you also toss most of the meaty interior of the tomato! The other way, and the one I used for this salsa (since I didn’t need perfect squares) was to cut the tomato in half at it’s equator, and then gently squeeze it. This pushes out all the pulp, while saving all the flesh.
That’s is. Simple, bright salsa, full of grilled veggies and absolutely delicious, whether you’re eating it on chips, pitas – or with a spoon!
- 2 Cobs Corn, shucked
- 2 Poblano Pepper
- 1 Red Pepper
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper
- 1/2 small Red Onion, diced evenly
- 1 large Tomato, seeded and diced evenly (see note above)
- 1/3 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp White Pepper
- 1/2 small lime, juiced
Heat a grill, or a grill pan to medium high heat. Place the corn cobs and peppers over the heat and grill, turning occasionally until corn is bright yellow and has some dark brown/blackened kernels and peppers have charred spots.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. After they have cooled, cut the kernels off the corn and place in a large bowl. Cut the peppers into small squares, about 1/4" dice, you want all the pieces to be roughly the same size as the corn kernels.
Smash the corn kernels with the back of a fork, or a potato masher until they are partially crushed and have released some of their juice. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir gently to combine.
Refrigerate Salsa to allow flavors to meld, or serve immediately. It's even better the second day!