Nectarine and Corn Salad with Chipotle Shirmp / by Chelsea Zwieg

I am addicted to corn. Fo real. Now that actual in-their-husks corn is at the grocery store it is pretty much all that I want to eat ever. Give it a few more weeks until corn is actually ready to be sold from Wisconsin fields and I think I will have to find a way to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Once August hits, every road you drive down in Wisconsin is dotted with little farm stands selling corn and how can I not buy it all?? Maybe I sound crazy but come here. Eat a cob. Eat six more. And tell me it is not the sweetest, crunchiest, most addicting thing you have ever had. If you're not quite on the same page as me yet, this salad might just change your mind. 

With all of my corn eating, I like to mix up what I put on it. A heavy sprinkle of salt is always the best, in my opinion. But another favorite is to squeeze lime juice all over it and cover it in chili powder. Sweet, tart, spicy, it's pretty great. This salad takes that and runs with it, straight into a nectarine, cilantro and cheese situation. 

It starts with loads of charred corn, thick slices of nectarines, a little bit of red onion (or a lot, onion breath for life) and a huge handful of cilantro. If cilantro is not your thing, you can substitute any herbs you like (basil, parsley etc.) in this. You just want it to be bursting with flavor in every way possible. Then it's topped with salty, crumbly feta cheese and tossed with a lime-honey vinaigrette. To make it more meal-like I added some super quick chipotle shrimp, on a skewer obviously.  If you want to leave the shrimp off, this is the perfect side salad for any summer meal and, since there are no greens to get all wilty, it is the perfect sturdy choice to take to a cookout. 

And if this doesn't turn you into the addicted, corn eating fanatic that I am....well, more cobs for me! But really, you'll love it. 

Nectarine and Corn Salad with Chipotle Shrimp

Note: Chipotles in adobo is one of my favorite. favorite. favorite. ingredients. They can be found in the Mexican aisle of any grocery store and they add chipotle flavor that powdered chipotle can not even come near. The leftover sauce that the chilis are packed in also make an excellent addition to marinades (like this one), dressings or stirred into mayo. 

Serves 2

| Ingredients

For the salad

  • 3 ears of corn
  • 2 nectarines, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup feta or cotija cheese crumbles

For the shrimp:

  • 10-12 shrimp
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 2 tbsp. adobo sauce (from the peppers) 
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder (you can omit this to tone down the spice) 

| Instructions

  • First, marinate the shrimp. Finely chop the chipotle pepper and add to a bowl with the adobo sauce, lime, garlic, sugar and chili powder. Add shrimp and stir to coat. Let sit 15 minutes.
  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook a few minutes on each side until cooked through. While they are cooking, occasionally brush the leftover marinade over the shrimp, coating each piece. If you share my penchant for food on sticks, you can also skewer them and cook them in a grill pan or on the grill for a little extra charred flavor. 
  • Prepare corn using your favorite method. Grill, broiler, microwave, just beware of overcooking it. Crunchy corn = good corn. My preferred method is to microwave the corn in the husks for 1-2 minutes, depending on the size. Once they are cooled, I remove the husks and char them over the gas burner on my stove. You can also char them under the broiler. Or if you have a grill, go for it. There is literally nothing better than grilled corn. Once corn has cooled, slice kernels off the cob and place in a large bowl.
  • Add nectarines, red onion and  1/4 cup cilantro. Toss to combine. Crumble feta cheese over the top and stir in gently. In a small bowl, whisk together the juice of 2 limes, olive oil, 1 tbsp. honey and cilantro. If you want a more honey-ish than lime-ish dressing, add another tbsp. of honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Add dressing to salad and serving additional dressing on the side. Top salad with chipotle shrimp and serve. This salad makes some A+ leftovers, if you leave the dressing on the side.