Grilled Corn, Tomatoes & Basil Salad

Grilled corn, tomato and basil salad

Sweet corn was a welcome summer favorite at our home in the Midwest. I don’t know who was more excited about it, the raccoons or me. My furry friends were always on standby, holding a saltshaker in one paw and a stick of butter in the other. Like me, they would do almost anything for a fresh, sweet ear of corn.

Raccoon with sign

Original photo by Ravi – altered by Cathy

The patient creatures would wait until late at night when the house was dark, under the stars they would self-serve our precious corn. Dinner was shared on the lawn with much enthusiasm and happy chatter. Merrily they shucked each ear, nibbling the corn a few rows at a time, just like me. When sweet corn is good, it is very, very good.

In truth those masked mischievous mammals were a menace, but in the end we were resigned to share our crop.

When looking for corn at the market, follow the raccoons lead.

  • Look at the silk tassels sticking out at the top, it should be golden brown and slightly sticky. If the silk is dry or black, move on to the next ear.
  • Make sure the husks are a good green color – if it is brown, leave it for another human.
  • Feel each ear through the husk, it should feel plump in your paw hand.

Corn… Vegetable, Grain or a Fruit?

Corn seed is actually all three.

  • Vegetable, because it is harvested for eating.
  • Grain, because it is a dry seed of a grass species.
  • Fruit, because that is the botanical definition.

So botanically speaking, today’s corn and tomato recipe is a fruit salad. No matter what you call it, this celebratory vegetable confetti salad travels well for picnics or potlucks. It is a perfect complement to chicken on the grill.

Today’s Recipe:cutting-corn-on-a-bundt-pan

I grilled the corn on my stovetop over the gas flame. It produced a wonderful charred corn without heating up the backyard grill.

TIP: To cut the corn off the cob, I use a Bundt pan. It keeps the kernels from flying all over my kitchen.

Grilled Corn with Tomatoes & Basil
This simple and fresh salad is the perfection of summer flavors. It travels well for picnics, potlucks and fabulous along side of your favorite BBQ chicken.
  • 5 large ears sweet corn
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 4 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
  1. Remove husks and silk from corn. Over a hot grill or an open gas-stove flame, char the corn until lightly blackened. Once charred, remove cob from heat, and when cool enough to handle, shave off kernels using a large knife.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add corn; sauté until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Transfer corn mixture to large bowl. Let cool. Stir in tomatoes and vinegar.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cover; chill 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
  6. Right before serving mix in basil.

Corny Trivia:

  • Corn always has an even number of rows on each ear.
  • An ear of corn averages 800 kernels in 16 rows.
  • There is one piece of silk for each kernel.

Quote of the Day

“Sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn.” Garrison Keillor
…and then, she paused for thought.


About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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11 Responses to Grilled Corn, Tomatoes & Basil Salad

  1. ronalewis August 14, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    I’ve never grilled corn over my stove top! I need to try that!!

    • cathyarkle August 14, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      Rona is it so easy. Just know that it will snap, crackle and pop a little.

  2. nusrat2010 August 14, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    OMG! How did you do that raccoon picture!? How cute is that!

    And many thanks for another fun post. I call it a ‘total package’.

    Hugs. Love. Sunshine

  3. cathyarkle August 14, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Thanks Nusrat, I “altered” that photo in photoshop. I just couldn’t help myself. 🙂

  4. Lynne @ CookandBeMerry August 14, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    Great idea to use the bundt pan. I’ll have to try that next time. Really cute raccoon pic. The little rascals.

    • cathyarkle August 14, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

      Thanks Lynne, the bundt pan is a huge improvement from when I splatter my whole kitchen with corn kernels. You got to love raccoons when they are living on someone else’s corn, otherwise, not so much. 🙂

  5. Linda Valen August 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    Cathy!!!!!!! I am an Iowa corn girl and I can’t believe the things I’ve once again learned in reading your intriguing blog — Corn is a vegetable, grain and fruit!?! Shock!!!!

    CLEVER – CUTTING CORN IN A BUNDT PAN! OK, WHY didn’t I think of that!!!!!! Sigh!

    The raccoon picture was cute too 🙂

    • cathyarkle August 14, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

      Thanks Linda! I learned a lot as well. Glad you stopped by.

  6. Christina @ChristinasCucina August 14, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

    I remember eating 7 ears of corn in one sitting when I was a teenager in Michigan. Pretty crazy when I think about it now, but I know what you’re talking about when you say you got excited for corn in the summer! I still love it with butter and salt, but this is such a unique way to prepare it! Trust you to come up with such a great recipe! Oh, and I ADORE the raccoon pic (and the bundt idea is pure GENIUS!)

    • cathyarkle August 15, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      Wow Christina that is a lot of corn and yes it is that good especially from the Midwest. Kitchen cleanup became much easier when I discovered using a Bundt pan.

  7. Kim September 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Hi Cathy! That’s an awesome raccoon photo and corn trivia. The salad looks wonderful, too. I had no idea that each kernel had it’s own silk?! So is there anything anyone can do with the silk, other than throwing it away? Like weaving it into a basket, or something? I wonder if my chickens would eat it. 🙂

    As for my new venture… Do you have any interest in flexing your graphic artist skills to help get the new place started? I don’t have a particular “Project” in mind, yet. Just looking to build a tribe/network of people I might be able to work with when the time comes. I have no idea if you freelance. It’s an exciting time!! Thank you, always, for your support.


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