If late summer could be diced up and served for dinner, this is what it would taste like. There’s the tang of tomatoes, the crunch of peppers, and the sweetness of fresh corn. Add a bit of avocado, mozzarella and bacon, and you’ve got a healthy and hearty dish with just enough fat to make your taste buds smile.
As much as I love this dish, I’ll only make it during the handful of weeks when the tomato harvest overlaps the corn harvest. Both ingredients are at their best when home grown or farmers-market-bought, and this salad deserves the best.
One warning: This salad does not store well. The tomatoes would go to mush in the refrigerator and the avocado would turn brown. Not a problem. This salad is quick and easy, and there’s no need to make it ahead of time. Just make it fresh every time you eat it, and eat it all. Your taste buds will thank you.
Tomato, Corn and Avocado Chopped Salad
This recipe makes enough for a generous dinner salad for one (fills me up every time), or a side salad for 2-4. It’s a wonderful quick and healthy dinner, and is one of my go-to recipes this time of the year. The whole thing can be pulled together in a leisurely 20-30 minutes; less if you’re hustling.
- 1+ tomatoes, one large or several small
- 1 ear fresh sweet corn, cut from ear
- 1+ pepper(s), one large or several small. Spicy or mild, whatever you prefer. I used sweet banana peppers for this recipe.
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- 4oz mozzarella, diced
- 3 slices nitrate/nitrite-free bacon, sliced across the grain
- 1/4 lime
- salt and pepper to taste
- skillet or sauté pan, preferably cast iron
- cutting board
- sharp chef’s knife or chopping knife
- tomato knife or other serrated knife
- cookie sheet with a rim (optional)
Start with the bacon. Use a sharp knife to slice your bacon across the grain into roughly 1/4-inch wide strips. [Hint: This is easier to do if you let your bacon sit in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.] Add the bacon to your skillet and cook over medium low heat until the bacon is crisp and happy (approximately 5-10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Set bacon aside and pour off most of the fat (leave approximately 1-2 tablespoons in the pan). If you’re using a well-seasoned cast iron pan, you can drain off all the bacon fat.
While the bacon is cooking, cut the corn from the cob with a sharp knife. I find this is easiest to do if I first cut the cob in half, giving me a flat end to stand the corn up on the cutting board. Next, set your cutting board inside the cookie sheet (this helps catch any runaway kernels), and stand your corn up on its cut end. Slice straight down the cob to remove the kernels. (Save those corn cobs for stock.)
Add corn to the still-hot skillet / sauté pan (after removing the bacon), and swirl it around over medium-high heat. You don’t want to brown the corn. Just cook it long enough for the color to brighten and the kernels to heat through, about 1-2 minutes. Return bacon to pan, stir together and then set the whole pan aside. I like to rest the pan at an angle, with the bacon and corn pulled to the high end. This allows the excess bacon fat to drain off while you’re chopping the rest of the ingredients.
Speaking of those other ingredients… Use the tomato / serrated knife to cut the tomato into bite-sized pieces. Use the chef’s knife (non-serrated) to chop and slice the pepper(s), avocado and mozzarella into similarly-sized pieces. Add all those chopped ingredients to a large plate or bowl (I use pasta bowls for this salad). Add the corn and bacon mix, and toss salad together. Dress the salad with a squirt of lime juice (to taste), and season with salt and pepper (go easy with the salt — the bacon usually provides enough).
Eat and enjoy.
- Use whole or halved cherry tomatoes and bocconcini or ciliegine mozzarella (those bite-sized mozz balls) for a different look.
- Skip the bacon for a vegetarian salad.
- Add pre-cooked and diced chicken or steak for a bit more protein and a more filling salad.
- Roast your corn on the grill for a smokier flavor.
- Dice everything up super small and eat this as a salsa instead.