Ideas are an amazing thing. Sometimes they’re almost nonexistent and sometimes they come at you, fast and furious like a sudden summer thunderstorm. To me this time of year is the latter, and one of the best times for food/new recipe ideas. The staggering abundance of fresh and local seasonal produce gets most of the credit.
I love vegetables. There, I said it, and the ‘Italian’ in me passionately approves! Long ago they embraced the idea of vegetables being a star, and not just a last second afterthought. Champions of using what’s fresh and local long before it became hip to do so, in small towns in Italy, they hold a celebration/festa when the harvest comes in. Vegetables are revered and so they should be, considering their impressive nutritional value, as well as taste.
Growing up on the farm we always had plenty of corn from one of our vegetable gardens, and as kids we loved it when a late summer meal consisted of all the hot, buttered cobs of corn we could wolf down! The melee took place outside at the picnic table, noisily, everyone jockeying for space, and in that sibling friendly way, using elbows to get it!
Afterwards, the gnawed on mostly bare cobs were destined for the chicken coop, where the thankful chickens very enthusiastically pecked them clean. Talk about nothing wasted!
This dish is hearty, and yet fresh at the same time. The smokey coolness of the avocado plays off nicely with the other vegetables; the crunch of the corn, the texture of the beans & zucchini, and just the right amount of bite from the red onion. Lime juice and olive oil bring it all together snappily, while letting the individual flavours shine through.
Grill (or cook) an extra cob of corn a day or two before, and this incredible dish of Grilled Avocado Halves with Corn & White Bean Salad comes together quickly and makes a great light lunch, or first course for an al fresco dinner!
- Serves 2, easily multiplied
- 1 large ripe avocado
- 1/2 cup cooked summer corn (grilled or other)
- 3/4 cup white cannellini beans (drained if using canned)
- 1/2 small zucchini, sliced into 1/16” rounds (using a mandoline best here)
- 1 tablespoon red onion, chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (1/2 lime approx. saving the other half for wedges to garnish)
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Heat your grill or grill pan on medium.
- In a medium bowl add the corn, beans, zucchini, onion and all seasonings; mix and set aside to let the flavours meld.
- Using a large knife, split the avocado in half horizontally, and carefully remove the pit.
- Place the avocado halves cut side down on the grill pan (there’s enough fat in the avocado so you don’t need to add anything.)
- After about 2 minutes, check for lovely grill marks - you don’t want to cook the avocado, just mark it enough for that lovely, smokey taste. Turn the avocado 45° to get restaurant style markings, and heat another 2 or so minutes, until nicely marked.
- Put each avocado half on a plate, seasoning lightly with salt & pepper.
- Fill with the bean and corn mixture, letting some spill out cornucopia style, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and serve with lime wedges.
- *Tip: with extra grilled corn in the fridge this comes together very fast for an incredibly satisfying light lunch, or first course for an al fresco dinner!