In Season: Corn
This corn-and-kale salad pulls inspiration from a traditional Vietnamese dish.
Written By: Erin Byers Murray
Photographers: Danielle Atkins
In Season: Corn
At Vui’s Kitchen, the roster of dishes reads like a scene from owner Vui Hunt’s memories. There are summer rolls and noodle bowls; bone broth and Vietnamese soup, all of which remind her of her homeland. Hunt arrived in the U.S. when she was 12—she’s been on an entrepreneurial path since taking her first restaurant job in Atlanta. After launching and replicating the I Love Juice Bar franchise here in Nashville (there are now 43 locations), she opened Vui’s Kitchen last year, bringing her home country’s flavors into a fast-casual concept. This corn-and-kale salad, for example, pulls inspiration from a traditional dish.
“In Vietnam, grilled corn is street food, so you see people eating these cobs all the time as a savory snack, with the scallion oil poured over top,” she says. She transfers that idea into a salad, shaving the grilled kernels and mixing them with lacinato kale, wild mint from her own garden, scallion dressing, and red pepper flakes for heat. “There’s a sweet, zippy lightness to the dressing that reminds me of home,” she adds.
Vietnamese Grilled Corn Salad with Lacinato Kale and Scallion Dressing
Courtesy of chef Vui Hunt; Serves 4
Note: To turn this into a vegetarian dish, use salt instead of fish sauce. And, if you don't have almonds, peanuts or sesame seeds work just as well.
3 corn cobs, grilled to a dark char
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped scallions
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cups kale leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped
½ teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 large lime
½ cup roughly chopped mint
½ cup toasted almond slivers
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1. Slice the corn off of the cobs into a bowl, discarding cobs.
2. Heat oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and stir until fragrant. Add scallions, fish sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds, until the scallions have wilted and mixture is aromatic. Pour dressing over corn kernels, toss well, and set aside.
3. Place chopped kale in a bowl and gently massage with salt and limejuice, until kale leaves start to turn dark green. Add the kale to the bowl of corn, along with the mint and toasted almond slivers. Toss to combine, and serve immediately.