The Seasoned Franciscan - Cooking Joyfully

Grilled Corn Salad:  Ensalada de Elote Asado

By Pati Jinich on Tuesday, September 19th 2023

6 ears of corn
10 scallions
5 T olive oil plus more for brushing grill
1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes
1 tsp kosher or coarse sea salt or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 C fresh mint, chopped
1/4 C fresh chives, chopped
2 T red wine vinegar

1.    Pre-heat the grill to medium, or set a grill pan over medium heat. Once hot, brush with oil.
2.    Cook the corn for about 20 minutes, flipping with tongs every once in a while. Also, cook the scallions for about 10 minutes, flipping occasionally as well. Remove both from the heat when charred, cooked and softened. Set aside.
3.    Heat 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes until charred and softened. Remove from the heat, making sure to reserve the oil and tomato juices as well.
4.    Shave the corn kernels off the cobs and place in salad bowl. Cut white and light green parts of the scallions into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Add the mint, chives, vinegar, and the reserved oil and juices from the tomatoes. Mix well. Incorporate the tomatoes. Gently toss and serve.

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Hispanic Heritage Month started on September 15.  It honors the culture we call Hispanic, but what do we mean by the word?  When we hear "hispanic", we usually think "south of the US border", people who speak Spanish, immigrants from Central and South America.  Long before the Spanish brought language, Christianity, livestock, rice and wheat, corn (or maize) was one of the staple grains of the western hemisphere.  She/Corn was respected member of the family for native people like the Oneida and the Zapotecan in Mexico.

The recipe for "Grilled Corn Salad" pictured above from includes other flavors of the Western hemisphere like tomatoes, peppers, and onions once found in the wild.  Pati Jinich's recipe was inspired by a pre- Hispanic Zapotecan woman named Abigail Mendoza.  A cook, restaurateur and teacher,  Abigail describes how she “feels her ancestors present” when she cooks. 

Pati Jinich of "Pati's Mexican Table" on PBS interviewed Abigail on the episode called "Queen in the Land of Gods" on Amazon with ads) Learn more about this amazing cook who honors how her ancestors prepared food before the Spanish conquest.  

Interestingly,  Pati Jinich, now a famous Mexican cook and food historian, has an MA in Latin American Studies and is a former political analyst focused on US-Mexico relations at the Inter-American Dialogue.  She has made exploring and sharing Mexico's cuisine her life's work.

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