This corn salad with bacon combines the sweetness of fresh corn with the smokiness of bacon. Add red onions, tomatoes, basil, and a creamy dressing made with mayo, lemon juice, and just a little bacon, and you have a bright and colorful side dish that’s perfect for your next summer barbecue, get together, or potluck.
I just love fresh corn. Whether it’s fried corn (my favorite), grilled, or in succotash, I’ll gobble it up in an instant. So when the summer is over and those stacks of fresh corn show up in the grocery stores and street stalls, I always grab some.
The biggest challenge with fresh corn is cleaning it. Hulling and removing the silk from corn is often maddening. But it doesn’t have to be.
Years ago someone showed me that cooking corn in the husks gives you great flavor AND the steam that comes out just makes the husks and silk fall off. Well I was a bit skeptical but it works 100%. That’s why I always recommend grilling corn right in the husk. And that’s why I’m including the microwave instructions for the corn in this recipe.
You simply heat 2 corn on the cob right in the shells. Then once they are cool enough to handle it. you are ashamed You can do it the traditional way, or you can follow what I think is an even easier method… Cut the bottom of the cob about two rows of seeds above the stem end. Then pinch the top of the shells and silk with one hand and shake the ear out of the cut end. It may shake a little, but it should slide right out of the shells and silks without much further cleaning. It’s brilliant!
But what if it’s not summer and you can’t get your hands on some fresh corn to make this corn salad with bacon? Well, fear not. This recipe also works great with frozen corn. Sure, it’s a little different, but it’ll still go a long way in satisfying your corn salad cravings. You will need about 2 (10 ounce) bags of frozen corn to substitute for the fresh corn in this recipe. And since most can be steamed right in the bag, it’s even easier.
A few things to note…
To add even more smoky flavor, I add 1 tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat to my dressing. It’s an optional step, but it sure adds flavor. Aside from that, you can replace the bacon with 1/2 cup real crumbled bacon, which you can buy in the little bags at the grocery store. In this case, you won’t have bacon fat, but it will still be delicious.
I used grape tomatoes in the recipe, but you can of course use regular diced tomatoes in about the same amount.
As for the basil, we tested it both with and without and loved both sides. But the green makes the lettuce look even more colorful, so we decided to keep it. You can also substitute fresh cilantro, parsley, or even dill — if you like.
Corn salad with bacon
Fry the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Reserve 1 tbsp of the bacon fat for the dressing. Drain on kitchen paper. Crumbles on cooling. Put aside.
Prepare the corn in batches by microwave 2 unpeeled ears of corn on high for 4 minutes. Repeat the process with the remaining uncooked corn. This will cook the corn and make it easier to shell and remove the silk. Once cool enough to the touch, slice off the bottom of the cob about two rows of seeds above the stem end, then pinch the top and slide the cob out of the shells and silks. Clean up any remaining silk scraps. Using a sharp knife, cut the seeds from the cobs, working as close to the cobs as possible without cutting into them. You will need about 4 cups of seeds.
Make the dressing by whisking together the mayo, warm bacon grease, and lemon juice in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes, crumbled bacon, onion, and basil. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
You can substitute 2 (10 ounce) bags of frozen corn that has been cooked and refrigerated for the fresh corn.