What this is, is a savoury fruit salad with charred corn. The dressing is simple yet punchy. I drew inspiration from the flavours of Tajín–the chilli and lime salt from Mexico that’s most popularly served sprinkled over juicy wedges of watermelon. I haven’t tried the actual thing, but from the sounds of it it’s very similar to our very own chilli-salt combination. You know raw mangoes or pineapple with chilli and salt sprinkled over them? That. This salad is reminiscent of those same flavours.
I served this as a side with jackfruit and bean tacos. It was a great contrast to the spice and density of the chillies and beans. A grilled protein served alongside to bulk it up would be an easy meal option too.
The corn is my favourite part here – smoky and sweet. The charring happens over an open flame—shuck them first, then hold each ear over the flame and roast until charred all over, turning as often as needed. Once cool enough to handle, lay it down horizontally on your chopping board. Hold the corn firmly with one hand and run a knife along the length of it with your dominant hand. Keep turning as you go, and cut as close to the cob as possible to release the kernels.
The fried onions are store-bought for ease (not that it’s hard to make fried onions; I’ve included instructions below on how you can make them at home). They add the much needed crunch to the salad but also complexity and depth, so be liberal with them.
All the chopping and prep for the salad can be done ahead of time and kept refrigerated. Dress and add the fried onions just before serving. We liked it cold as well as at room temp, so your call which way you want to go.
WATERMELON, PINEAPPLE & CORN SALAD WITH FRIED ONIONS
- 2 cups watermelon, cubed
- 2 cups pineapple, cubed
- 2 ears of corn, shucked
- 2 cups of lettuce, roughly chopped (I used Romaine)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup coriander leaves, roughly torn
- ¼ cup fried onions (see notes)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons chilli flakes
- 3 teaspoons honey
- 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest + juice of half
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- First make the dressing: add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust. Set aside.
- Roast the corn over an open flame. Roast until charred all over, turning as often as needed. Transfer to a chopping board and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile place the watermelon, pineapple, onions, lettuce and coriander leaves in a large bowl.
- Lay the corn down horizontally on your chopping board. Hold the corn firmly with one hand and run a knife along the length of it with your dominant hand. Turn as you go and cut as close to the cob as possible to release the kernels.
- Add the kernels to the salad. Gently toss everything together with your fingers making sure not to squish the watermelon. The salad can be prepared and kept refrigerated at this stage until ready to serve.
- Dress the salad and sprinkle over the fried onions just before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.