Corn Salad with Grilled Tofu

Us Midwestern girls know a thing or two about corn. We’d wait until the height of corn season (late July – August), then my mom, sister and I would drive out through the country roads to the farm stands and pick out produce for dinner. Sis and I were in charge of finding the best ears of sweet corn. We’d peel back the husk a bit to expose a few of the uppermost kernels and poke a thumbnail into one. If it shot corn juice into our eye, we knew it was good. Mom always cooked it that might for dinner, because it’s best right after it’s been picked. As soon as sweet corn is harvested, it’s made up of 80% sugar and 20% starch. Within 24 hours it becomes it’s opposite, 80% starch and 20% sugar. The cobs would get slathered in butter, salted and gobbled up. Those were the evenings when a few corn cobs, tomatoes, peaches and a baked potato were dinner.

Sorry to say, even the best Jersey corn can’t really live up to that. So, we have to gussy it up a bit. Enter – the corn salad. The corn gets shucked and kernels are cut off, mixed with chopped pepper and sauteed a bit. Add avocado, fresh herbs and a chipotle-lime dressing, and you’ve got dinner. I marinated some tofu in the dressing for a few hours, then grilled it, to make this into a full meal. I threw in some feta cheese for good measure, but that’s optional.

Preparing corn-on-the-cob for the first time can be a little intimidating, but we’re not going for perfection here. Just peel back the husk and silk, then break off the bottom. Don’t worry about the few silks that are hanging on. Standing the cob upright in a bowl, hold your knife perpendicular and slice down the whole thing. You want to try and stay somewhat close to the cob, but don’t sweat it.

Corn Salad with Grilled Tofu

8 oz. firm tofu (I like Wildwood Sprouted tofu)
3 T. lime juice (from 1 juicy lime)
3 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. chipotle powder (or more to taste if you like it spicy)

1 T olive oil
3 ears of corn with kernels stripped (see above for a how-to)
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 avocado, sliced
a big handful of basil leaves (cilantro would be good, too) cut into pieces
2 oz. feta cheese (optional), toasted pumpkin seeds would be good, too
the rest of the tofu marinade

Slice the tofu into 4 thin slabs. Wrap them in a towel and press to dry a bit. Mix the rest of the tofu ingredients in a ziploc bag. Add the tofu to the bag in a single layer, make sure it gets coated in the marinade, then let it sit for a few hours (I did 2, it was very flavorful) If you don’t have much time to marinade, just do what you can and brush more on when you grill.

Heat the rest of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and corn and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the rawness is cooked out, but corn still pops in your mouth. Set aside.

Grill the tofu. On my grill pan it took 15 minutes on medium high, turning them halfway to get some nice marks. It may take a little  more time on a real grill with a moderate heat.

Pour the rest of the marinade out of the bag and onto the corn and peppers. Mix with feta and half of the basil. Lay the avocado and tofu on top, then garnish with the rest of the basil.

serves 2 for a meal, 4 as a side

*Note: if you decide to use fish or meat instead of the tofu, do NOT use the marinade for a dressing! I bet you don’t need to marinate at all, but if you choose to, throw out the marinade and make more for the dressing.

Inspired by this weeks Food Matters Project, Corn-Avocado Salad (with a little something seared on top)

15 Responses to “Corn Salad with Grilled Tofu”

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  1. Jeanine says:

    That’s so interesting about the ratio of sugar to starch — I never knew that, I just knew I loved that corn!

    …all my favorite summer ingredients in this salad!

  2. Those grill marks are beautiful! Great tip about picking out fresh picked corn – I never knew that.

  3. Jenn says:

    Gorgeous pictures. The grill marks on the tofu makes it the most appetizing presentation of tofu that I’ve seen!

  4. Kate says:

    Every summer during corn season I buy far more than one person reasonably should and eat it in every manner imaginable until I am unfathomably sick of sweet corn. Which is good. By the time the next year rolls around, I’m ready to do it all over again.

    This salad would go over well in our house, and I love the addition of the marinated tofu too. I recently did a summer-y kind of stir fry with many of these same ingredients, served over a mexican spiced quinoa.

    Just yesterday, I mashed a deliciously ripe avocado and smeared that on grilled corn. Revelation. You must try it.

  5. Evi says:

    I had no idea about the corn starch/sugar ratio- thanks for the little nugget. Love random factoids like that! Where are you from the midwest? I’m from the Chicago area, but went to school at University of Iowa- yes, the corn world! =)

    • Elizabeth says:

      Evi, I’m from Ohio – the northwestern part of the state – in a very small town. Probably not quite as “corn-y” as Iowa, but good enough for me!

  6. Lexi says:

    Elizabeth, that salad is beautiful! Our corn is fantastic right now so last week I changed it up a bit and made elote. Have you tried that?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Lexi. To tell you the truth, I’d never even heard of elote until moving to NYC. And the corn just isn’t good enough for me here. I’m a corn snob, I know!

  7. Meg says:

    That tofu marinade sounds amazing! Love the grill lines on it, too.

  8. Margarita says:

    your pictures are so lovely! :) love your tofu marinade and the use of feta cheese.

  9. Such beautiful photos! It’s interesting that the ratio of sugar to starch flip flops so quickly. That explains a lot!

  10. I sure wish we would start seeing corn in the markets around here. I’d love to grill some corn on the cob…and make this deliciously healthy salad!

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