Arugula Salad with Grilled Corn, Avocado and Tomato

I’m feeling very grateful today. Last weekend, our beautiful high desert town was threatened by wildfires. We were all quite on edge as we watched the plumes of smoke rise, way too close to town and homes, almost certainly damaging beloved trails and parks although I don’t know the extent at this point. Thankfully, the firefighters have done an awesome job and the fire is now 70% contained, people who were evacuated are back in their homes and we might even get some rain today. Now if we could just find out how these fires were set our community could rest even easier. It’s extremely unsettling to know there’s a good chance they were started intentionally.

Today is the first day of summer vacation for the girls. Hailey and I are very excited to hang out together and for the freedom of no schedule. Ella, however, has already had tears this morning because she misses school and her friends and she’s bored. She did decide last night that she is going to write a song this summer. About math. She thinks it will take her quite a bit of time so that’s good. Maybe I will remind her of that next time she complains about being bored. Go write your math song already!
I’m not sure we will be doing much grilling as we originally planned for Father’s Day. The temperature has dropped significantly and the rain clouds are rolling in but I’m not complaining because it could really help the firefighters out and we have had our share of really nice weather the last few weeks. If we were to grill though, I might be making the following recipe because it was a huge hit with Bob, the resident dad here, when I made it a couple weeks ago. All the different ingredients in this salad come together really nicely for texture and balance of flavors. The crunchy onion, the creamy avocado, the smoky sweetness of the corn, the juiciness of the tomato, the sweet balsamic syrup, the fresh, peppery arugula and the bright acidity of the lemon. There are a lot of steps but none of them are difficult (if you follow the directions) and, in my opinion, it’s well worth it. As always, I encourage you to read through the entire recipe before you begin.
This salad was great with cedar plank salmon and I can’t really think of any other grilled fish or meat it wouldn’t go well with… chicken, pork or beef would all be delicious.
My dad and me, 1970. Three Creeks Lake, OR. Miss you daddy… Wish I was cooking for you for Father’s Day!

Arugula Salad with Grilled Corn, Avocado, and Tomato

(serves 4)
2 ears corn, husks and silk removed (I often cheat and buy the bare ones from Costco)
olive oil
1 avocado, ripe but still firm
12 grape tomatoes
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
2 cups arugula
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 TB olive oil
juice of 1 Meyer lemon (or regular lemon)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the grill on high for at least 10 minutes.
Brush corn with olive oil to coat the entire surface (or rub it on with your fingers like I did) and salt and pepper it as well. Turn the grill down to medium heat and allow corn to grill for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
Remove it from the heat and allow to cool a little before slicing.
Prepare your avocado. Slice in half,
remove the pit (Make sure you use a sharp, heavy knife, strike the pit in the center then twist it out. Do not try to pull the pit out of the knife with your fingers. Please. Lay the knife down toward your work surface so the pit is on solid ground and gently roll the pit to remove the knife.),


carefully scoop out flesh,


and cut in three or four thick slices.


Slice grape tomatoes in half.


In a bowl, combine avocado slices and tomatoes. Drizzle in about a tablespoon of olive oil, add a little salt and pepper and toss very lightly to coat. Place on a grill basket, making sure the tomatoes are cut side down. Grill on medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning avocados after 5 minutes so they char on both sides.


Meanwhile, peel and dice onion. Place in a large bowl.


Slice off corn kernels with a sharp knife, coming as close to the cob as you can. Add corn kernels to the onion in the large bowl.


Place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and boil for about 3 minutes, staying close to it, until reduced to approximately 2 TB.
Note: If you are nervous about doing this while having your avocado and tomato on the grill, go ahead and wait until they are finished, remove them from the grill, then concentrate on your syrup. It only takes a few minutes but it’s really important not to leave it boiling on the stove too long or it will reduce to a hard candy consistency.


 Allow to cool only a couple minutes before tossing it with the onion and corn. The balsamic syrup will become gummy if left too long on it’s own. Toss in 2 TB olive oil, a sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground pepper to the onion and corn as well at this time.


If you haven’t already, remove the avocado and tomatoes from the grill and lightly toss them in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. The avocado should be slightly charred and the grape tomatoes blistered.
Add the arugula and Meyer lemon juice and give the salad a final toss, careful not to mush the avocado too much. Add a little more sea salt and freshly ground pepper and serve immediately. This won’t keep well for long in the fridge but if you need to stick it in there for an hour before mealtime it would likely be fine.


“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
Jim Valvano

This was true of my dad. He once told my sister, who was worried that I was getting engaged to Bob way too young (which I was, at 19, but it worked out anyway) that he didn’t worry about me. That might sound like a negative thing but I knew, and so did she, that he meant he didn’t worry about me because he trusted I would make good decisions. That meant so much to me, being the youngest child especially and losing him so young, it really was a gift that gives me strength every time I think about it.


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