When it comes to toppings, the best salads are an exercise in contrast: tender and crunchy, salty and sweet. The best salads should have all four, and this one does. Sweet, tender corn and ripe cherry tomatoes, crunchy croutons seasoned generously with garlic salt, tangy blue cheese dressing and crisp romaine lettuce. It’s simple and unfussy, but oh-so-flavorful.
You may not think that corn belongs on a salad, because frankly, it’s not all that common. But surprisingly, the corn gives the salad a fresh pop of summer flavor and a surprising sweetness. Charring the corn brings a robust smokiness that can only be achieved in the great outdoors (or indoors with the aid of a kitchen torch, lol). You definitely want fresh summer corn for this recipe, the sweeter the better; the frozen stuff just doesn’t compare.
You can grill your corn, rotating on the cob until there is an even char over the surface of the kernels. If you don’t have a grill or don’t feel like firing it up, simply cut the kernels off of the cob, toss them with a bit of olive oil, and then broil until tender. You might get some char depending on your broiler, but I like to take a creme brûlée torch to the corn at the end to really give it that speckled, blackened look.
- 2 slices Italian bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Italian herb seasoning
- garlic salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ears fresh corn (about 1 cup of kernels)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1/3 cup Marie’s® Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; lightly oil foil.
- Toss bread cubes with olive oil, plus a few dashes of Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper to taste. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden brown, stirring once half-way through the cooking time, about 10 minutes total. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Turn on oven broiler to high or preheat a grill. If you are using a grill, brush corn with olive oil and grill on the cob until charred in spots; let cool slightly, then cut off kernels. If using the broiler, cut kernels off the cob, toss with olive oil and spread in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Broil for about 3 minutes or until sizzling. If you want charred spots using this cooking method you can always torch the corn with a creme brûlée torch. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Wash and spin lettuce and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with chunky blue cheese dressing until evenly coated. Divide among serving bowls. Top with grilled corn, cherry tomatoes, homemade croutons and serve.