Summer’s Harvest: New Mexican Fresh Corn Salad

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I’m calling this a New Mexican salad because it’s seasoned to evoke flavors of Mexico and the American Southwest.  I suggest that you use ground, dried red New Mexican chilis, but you can use whatever chili seasoning you have on hand, or leave it out altogether. Don’t, however, think of making it with frozen corn, it just wouldn’t be the same, and try to use freshly squeezed lime juice as well. Other than that, feel free to improvise.  Every fresh ingredient in this salad should be available in the markets for the next two months, and almost all of them at your local farm market. ¡Buen provecho!

NEW MEXICAN FRESH CORN SALAD

4 medium/large ears sweet corn, shucked, rinsed and steamed for 6-7 minutes, kernels cut off the cob

1 zucchini, trimmed and diced small

1 red bell pepper, trimmed and diced small

1 pasilla pepper*, trimmed and diced small

1 small red onion, peeled and diced

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 tablespoons lime juice (or to taste)

2-3 tablespoons rice syrup or sweetener of choice (or to taste)

1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ground New Mexican red chili pepper (or to taste)

1-2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

pinch of salt, a few grinds fresh black pepper (to taste)

While the corn steams, cut the other veggies.  When the corn is ready, drain in a colander and steam the other veggies 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the corn, the veggies and the dressing.  Adjust the seasoning, adding salt, pepper, ground chili, lime juice or umeboshi vinegar as needed. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled, mixing in the chopped cilantro just before serving.

*Pasilla peppers, which are longer, a bit thinner, a deeper green than bell peppers, and pack a bit more heat, can be found wherever Mexican foods are sold.  Green bell peppers are an acceptable substitute.

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