Ah, it’s almost Florida Zellwood corn season (if weather cooperates, April is the month). And while there’s other corn in season, we hold out for the sweet, tender Zellwood version.
And it’s also the season for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, which not only celebrates blooms, but also edible plants with more than a dozen Outdoor Kitchens around World Showcase Lagoon for noshing March 2-May 30.
This Roasted Corn Salad is served with ribs at the festival’s Smokehouse Kitchen, but we think it’s great as a side with grilled fish or roast pork – or all by itself. It takes a little time to roast the corn in the husk, and to roast and peel the poblano, but you’re rewarded with intense flavors that make this dish sing.
Roasted Corn Salad
8 ears corn, still in husks
1 fresh poblano pepper
2 jalapeños, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For roasted corn:
1. Pull outer husks down ear to base. Strip silk by hand, then fold husks back into place. Soak ears of corn in cold water with 1 tablespoon salt for 20 minutes.
2. Heat the grill or griddle pan to medium. Remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place corn directly on grill, turning every few minutes until kernels are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove from grill, remove husk, and cool completely.
4. Cut kernels from cobs.
For roasted poblano:
1. Heat a grill or griddle pan until very hot. Place whole pepper on cooking surface and cook until skin is completely charred and flesh is soft, turning often, about 3-5 minutes per side.
2. Remove from grill and cover so that peppers will steam for 10-15 minutes.
3. Peel skin, remove seeds and dice.
For Roasted Corn Salad:
1. Combine corn, poblano, jalapeños, red onion, and red pepper in a medium mixing bowl.
2. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and lime juice; stir in cilantro.
3. Pour over vegetables, stirring well. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Diva confession: Look for the freshest corn at the market, an ear that feels full with golden silk and bright green husks that fit tightly around the ear. You can even peel back the husk to make sure the corn looks good, with tight kernels. Once picked the corn’s sugar starts to convert to starch, so refrigerate to help slow down the transformation.