A Pair of Grilled Summer Salsas

Drink Features

When you light up the charcoal this summer, don’t limit yourself to steaks and burgers because a few minutes on the grill can add delicious smoky flavor to all kinds of foods, even salsa. Below you’ll find two simple recipes for grilled salsas that make fine accompaniments to just about any grilled meat or fish, but they are just as good scooped up with fresh tortilla chips.

First up is a summer corn salsa that draws flavors from the Mexican street corn, elote, which is made from lightly grilled sweet corn slathered with mayo, cotija cheese, and then sprinkled with chile powder and lime juice. For this recipe I ditched the mayo and added a bit of heat in the form of grilled serrano chiles which is a great counterpart to the sweet corn and salty cotija cheese.

In the summer my guacamole intake goes up about 200 percent so for this batch I decided to change it up and try it grilled. I threw the avocados along with some tart tomatillos and spicy jalapeños on the grill, chopped them up, and tied the whole mess together with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Grilling avocados might sound totally strange, but their natural creamy-sweetness is enhanced by the smoky char created by a few minutes over a hot fire and their firm flesh makes them perfect grilling material.

Elote Salsa
Cotija cheese can be quite salty, think of it as Mexican feta, so make sure to taste the salsa before adding any additional salt. You may not need any at all.

3 ears corn, husks removed
1 serrano chile
3 scallions
¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese
3 tablespoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon chile powder
? teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
salt to taste

1. Preheat your grill
2. Brush the corn, serrano chile, and scallions with a bit of oil then grill them until lightly charred. The corn will take about 10 minutes, the chile and scallions will take about 7 minutes. Remove the veggies to a plate and let cool.
3. Cut the corn kernels from the ear and chop the chile and scallions finely. Combine them in a bowl with the crumbled cheese and lime juice. Season with salt to taste then sprinkle the chile powder and cayenne (if using) on top.

Grilled Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa
Take care not to grill the avocados too long, you just want to char the outside not cook them all of the way through.

2 Haas avocados, ripe but firm ones are best here
6 medium tomatillos, husks removed
1/2 small white onion
1 small jalapeño or less to taste
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
salt to taste

1. Preheat your grill
2. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit. Cut the onion in half, but leave the skin on. Place the onion and avocado cut side down on the preheated grill. Cook until there are visible grill marks on both the onions and avocados, about 5 minutes. Lightly brush the jalapeño and tomatillos and grill until their skins are charred, about 7 minutes. Remove the veggies to a plate and let cool.
3. When the veggies have cooled, finely peel and chop the onion, then chop the jalapeño and tomatillos. Cut the avocado into chunks and combine everything in a small bowl. Add the lime juice, chopped cilantro and season with salt to taste.

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