I love a good grill-out. Even just the smell of a heated grill gets my summer senses tingling. This black bean and grilled corn salad is a fresh, simple side dish, perfectly suited for your next barbecue. It is slightly sweet and citrusy, with fresh herbs, which is a delightful contrast to many other grilled foods. Besides, it’s actually better when made the day before, meaning no work the day of the event!
To grill or not to grill
There is something special about the sweet smoky flavor of grilled corn. It brings me back to my many summers at the MN state fair. Thank you to my father-in-law for his excellent corn grilling technique. Using his method, the grilled corn stays moist but becomes lightly caramelized, bringing out the sweet flavor of the kernels. Start by peeling off the 3-4 outer layers of corn husk, to lightly thin the layers. Then, gently peel back the rest of the husk, leaving it attached, and remove the silks. Next, fold the husk back into place and move the corn to a grill, pre-heated to medium. Cook for about 15 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes.
Did you know that each corn silk is actually a stigma for an individual ovule (which when pollinated, will develop into a kernel). That means for a cob to fill in with kernels, each of those silks has to be pollinated. Learn more about corn development.
While this corn salad does really benefit from the smoky grill flavor, it is not essential that you grill the corn. It is possible to make this salad taste great even with frozen or canned corn. If you go one of those routes, prior to cooking drain/defrost and dry the corn well. Then, to give the corn a little caramelization, cook it in a hot pan with butter or oil, until it starts to develop brown spots. Lightly salt the corn before proceeding with the recipe. My hot corn dip recipe utilizes the same corn cooking technique.
Now, mix yourself a batch of this fresh corn salad, toss it in the fridge, and rest assured that you’ll be the hero of your next barbecue. Wow, look at you exceeding expectations – well done, you amazing human.
Need more grilling inspiration? Check out my sesame soy marinated beef kabobs.
Black Bean and Grilled Corn Salad
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ lime
- 1 ½ tsp honey
- ½ tsp white sugar
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 6 ears corn or ~3 cups of kernels
- 1 can low salt black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 roma tomato seeds removed and diced
- ¼ large or ½ small red onion diced
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro or parsley or a mix of the two
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients, then set aside.
- Pre-heat your grill to medium.
- Meanwhile, prepare your corn. Peel off the outer 3-4 husk layers from each cob. Carefully peel back the rest of the husk, leaving it attached at the base. Remove corn silks, then fold the husks back over the corn.
- Grill the corn for 15 minutes, rotating it every 5 minutes. The husk will get charred, as will bits of the corn inside. Allow the corn to cool while you cut the remaining salad ingredients.
- Once the corn has cooled, peel off the husks. Then, hold each ear of corn with the flat base down on a plate or cutting board. Use a large knife to cut the kernels from the cob by slicing close to the base of the kernels.
- Mix all salad ingredients together, then add and mix in the dressing, reserving ¼ cup for later.
- Cover the salad, then move to the fridge for at least 1-2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve the salad, mix in the reserved dressing and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.