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Spicy Mexican Corn Salad

So, earlier this summer we went through a ridiculous hot spell. And being Vermonters, we’re not built for heat. Luckily we had air conditioning in one room, and Jedd set up a ton of fans in the hallway so it was a wind tunnel of noise that made communicating with each other tenuous at best.

Jedd: “Hey, Darlin’. How did the new client work go today?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you! There are a lot of fans in the hallway!”

Me: “Do you want corn salad for dinner?”

Jedd: “Wink Martindale?!?”

Me: “I picked some tomatoes!”

Jedd: “Yeah! I love The Clash!”

Let’s not even get into the incident when I asked if he wanted “pickles,” and he thought I wanted “tickles.”

For two weeks my hair was blown back like Lucy from the second to last scene in Top Secret. Look it up if you’re not familiar with that reference.

And of course, the hard thing about a/c when you’re not used to it is – you’re not used to it. In the kitchen my hair was matted to the side of my face. When I walked into the room where the A/C was it so cold I that I got chilled to the bone, and then I kept thinking, “Oh, no. I’m gonna get the pneumonia!” (Even though I know that’s not medically probable.)

Weird fact: When my grandfather was an infant on the family farm he had the croup, and his parents bundled him in a blanket in a basket and put him out in the February winds to help with his cough.

It was below freezing.

At any rate he lived until a ripe and happy age, so I guess cold air really isn’t that bad for you!

Do you know what else isn’t really bad for you?

Our Mexican street corn salad. It was so refreshing and necessary in August, that I kind of can’t be grateful enough for it.

When you need to beat the summer heat, try this refreshing salad!

Sweet corn, spicy jalapenos, super salty cotija, and they all were enveloped in a tart and citrusy lime vinaigrette. Phew. That was good!

The horrifically hot weather is thankfully in the rearview mirror, but sweet corn is still showing up at markets.

Which means that we can still enjoy this fresh salad just for the taste, and not as a necessity to stay cool and keep our sanity.

I heartily suggest you whip up a batch of this for lunch, dinner, or (who’s kidding who), a fabulous breakfast.

Spicy Mexican Corn Salad

It’s worth it to head to the specialty cheese section of the grocery store for cotija. It’s dry, crumbly, and salty in all the right ways!

Serves 4.


4 cups fresh corn (approximately 5 ears) cut from the cob

¼ cup olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 teaspoon lemon pepper, divided

1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes

¼ cup diced red onion

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro

1 small jalapeno, seeded, deveined, and diced

2 tablespoons key lime juice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika

1/3 cup crumbled cotija cheese


Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot but not smoking, add the corn, and ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon lemon pepper.

Stir well.

Let the corn cook in a single layer untouched for 2-3 minutes, or until beginning to char.

Stir the corn, and let cook in a single layer for another 1-2 minutes, or until cooked through.

Spoon the corn into a large bowl, and let cool for approximately 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalapeno to the bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lime juice, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Drizzle over the salad.

Stir well to combine.

Top with cotija.

Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

*Note, if serving after being refrigerated, you may want to refresh the salad with more cotija and cilantro.

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