Healthy-start Monday: hearty vegetarian grilled corn salad

Grilling corn on the barbecue imparts a lovely smoky sweetness that my family just adores (and if you don’t have a grill, you can also cook it on the stovetop using a grill pan or normal frying pan). The sesame-encrusted avocado is nutty and creamy and pairs so well with the zesty lime crema. Cooking avocado does bring out a much stronger flavour, so if that’s not for you, skip the frying and enjoy it raw.

Grilled Corn Salad with Sesame-Crusted Avocado, Couscous, and Lime Crema

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
3 corn cobs, husks removed
extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp (40g) sesame seeds (white, black, or both), toasted
1 large (or 2 small) avocado, halved, pitted, and peeled
280g couscous
500ml just-boiled vegetable stock
2 big handfuls of baby rocket leaves
handful of coriander leaves (optional)
sea salt and black pepper

For the lime crema
125g crème fraîche
zest and juice of 1 lime
½ garlic clove, very finely chopped
sea salt

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Substitute
couscous: quinoa (for gluten-free)

Method
To make the lime crema, place the crème fraîche in a small bowl and add the lime zest and juice and the garlic. Stir to combine and season with sea salt. Set aside.

Preheat a grill, grill pan, or large frying pan to high. Coat the corn in olive oil, place it on the hot cooking surface, and cook, turning often, until evenly charred on all sides. Remove and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, slice one cob into 1cm-thick slices and, using a sharp knife, remove the kernels from the other two cobs. Set aside.

Place the sesame seeds in a shallow bowl and season with sea salt and black pepper. Slice each avocado half into four wedges. Carefully dip each slice in the sesame seeds until well coated. Reserve any leftover seeds to add to the salad at the end.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat. Fry the sesame-crusted avocado for about 1 minute on each side, or until the sesame seeds are golden, turning them carefully with a pair of tongs. Allow to cool.

Place the couscous in a shallow baking dish, sprinkle with sea salt, and drizzle over 1 tablespoon or so of oil. Stir to mix well. Pour the hot vegetable stock over the top and cover immediately with plastic wrap. Leave for 10 minutes. When ready, remove the plastic wrap and drizzle over another tablespoon of oil. Using a fork or chopsticks, fluff up the grains.

In a large bowl, combine the couscous, corn kernels and slices, rocket, coriander (if using), and any leftover sesame seeds. Season well with sea salt and black pepper and drizzle over a little extra oil. To serve, transfer salad to a serving plate, top with the avocado pieces, and spoon over the lime crema to finish.

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Extracted from Family New Vegetable Classics to Comfort and Nourish by Hetty McKinnon (Prestel, approx €30). Photography © Luisa Brimble.

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