Gone Vegan

Lindsay Hutton discovers the politics and pragmatics behind a meat and dairy-free diet.

Posting salad recipes in a vegan blog seems a bit redundant, no? It almost feels like cheating. I mean, unless you're Nigella Lawson, who might add a tin of goose fat to a veggie dip, it's usually pretty easy to keep it meat and dairy free. Regardless, when just about every summer crop is at it’s best, it would be ridiculous not to take advantage of it while it lasts. 

Where I live, the sweet corn, usually the first to ripen, rolled off the fields a couple of weeks early, just like about everything this summer. Every variety of fresh corn tastes wonderful grilled or roasted on the cob, but my favorite for texture and taste are varieties with smaller, sweeter kernels. A bit of char set against the creamy flavor of early summer corn is one of the finer tastes of summer, bridging two opposing spots on the palate together in one wow of a mouthful. 

Grilled corn needs to be eaten almost immediately after it’s taken from the fire as it tends to wrinkle up after an hour or so, and the natural sugars of corn tend to goo up  quickly. I won’t bore you with the molecular subtleties at play here — take my word for it. And while this isn’t a salad you can throw together inside of five minutes, it's worth the extra time.

To hit the high end of the flavor spectrum, I've added fresh cilantro and lime. Sure, with some dishes you can use dried herbs and bottled lime juice. But this dish, though far from an epicurean skill buster, offers a pretty dynamic collusion of flavors if you use everything fresh – sweet, savory, heat, and tang.

Grilled Corn Salad 

4 ears of sweet corn (leave the husks on!)

1 jalapeño or red chili, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, minced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped (optional)

the juice of one lime

1/2 cup olive oil

coarse salt and pepper, to taste

1. To grill the corn, first soak the entire ear, husks included, in cold water for one hour. Place a bowl, or something similar, on top to keep the cobs submerged. 

2. Next, remove the outward silks of the husks (so they don’t catch fire), and on a grill set to medium, grill for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, turning every minute or two, until the husks are blackened. 

3. Remove the corn from the grill, and set to cool for five minutes. Then remove the husks, and carefully slice the kernels off into a bow and set aside.  

4. Mix the peppers and onion with the corn and toss gently. 

5. In a separate bowl, whisk the lime juice and olive oil together, then add the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and mix well.

6. Stir the dressing into the corn salad, and enjoy!