Indulge in some fresh baby corn and make a salad that showcases this premature vegetable. Topped with crispy parsnip ribbons and mixed through with a spicy salad dressing, it’s a recipe you’d make over and over again!
Why You’ll Love Baby Corn Salad
Do you love fresh baby corn but only really have it in stir fries? Time to expand the repertoire of baby corn recipes by making this salad.
It’s a very simple recipe: corn, spinach leaves, tomatoes and capsicum.
From a flavour perspective, it is very basic and the kind of salad you throw together when you have leftovers.
But as always, we like to add a little something extra to give an otherwise easy salad a lift. Top it with some buttered crispy parsnip ribbons, and you’ll find it goes well with the other ingredients.
What you’ll really love is the dressing. This Tabasco horseradish vinaigrette is a smack in the face kind of punchy recipe needed to enhance the salad. It is spicy, with slight nasal clearing tinges as well as being tart.
What Is Baby Corn?
Have you ever thought about where baby corn comes from or how it’s grown?
Baby corn, as you would no doubt have guessed, comes from regular corn. The difference is that they are harvested early before it’s allowed to grow into the corn as we know it.
For corn to be fully grown, a fertilisation process must occur. The corncob is the female part of the plant. The tassel or the male flowers on the top sheds the pollen and then drifts down to the female flower, pollinating the silks. It then fertilises each kernel until it fully develops.
Baby corn is picked before this fertilisation process takes place and therefore cannot grow to its full potential. As the kernels are not permitted to develop fully, sugars have not been deposited. Hence you’ll find that baby corn is not sweet and, in fact, rather tasteless.
Why Is Baby Corn Not Produced in the US?
Thailand is the largest producer of baby corn. The US doesn’t produce baby corn and stick to adult corn because it is expensive to harvest them.
Unfortunately, the large machines used to strip the ear of corn from its stalk do not work for something as small as baby corn. They have to be picked entirely by hand. The labour costs are, therefore, unsustainable, and the profit margins are too low.
This crop is not only labour intensive; they also don’t travel very well. This explains why fresh baby corn is expensive and why we tend to prefer buying canned baby corn.
How to Cook Baby Corn?
Baby corn is best known for Chinese stir fry dishes. As it doesn’t have a whole lot of taste on its own, it provides the crunch.
You can boil it for about 4 minutes or steam it for about 5 minutes.
Flavour/Texture: This salad has a lot of crunch from the baby corn, raw capsicum, cherry tomatoes and of course, the crisp parsnip ribbons. The baby spinach leaves provide the much-needed greens, while the Tabasco horseradish vinaigrette is a flavoursome dressing that is spicy with a bit of bite.
Ease: Relatively easy salad to make with the most complicated component, making the crisp parsnip ribbons. But follow the instructions properly, and you’ll be fine. Assembly is easy, too, as it’s pretty much just combining all the ingredients and then topping it with the crispy parsnip.
Time: It takes just a little over half an hour as the parsnip ribbons take time to crisp up. Otherwise, the rest of the recipe is quick to whip up, which you can do while the parsnips are baking away.
Parsnip: Parsnips are always associated with roasts and something we have for winter. It’s not a vegetable we use very often for salads. But they are so sweet when cooked and have a great nutty and earthy flavour. Just a normal medium sized one will do for this recipe.
Butter: Melt enough butter to yield 1 tbsp. Used to coat the parsnip ribbons so that they crisp up nicely. Add some salt and hope they don’t get eaten before you serve them up with the salad!
Baby corn: Buy fresh baby corn for this salad. Steam it for about 5 minutes, so they retain that crunch yet is cooked. You can find them in the larger supermarkets. If not, try your farmer’s market or local grocer.
Baby spinach leaves: This will give the salad the greens it needs. 40g or a large handful will suffice. After washing them, ensure that they are very dry before adding them to the salad so that it doesn’t all go soggy.
Oregano: Fresh oregano is best.
Capsicum: This will give added crunch, while the orange gives it some colour. Fresh and raw, it adds to the simplicity of the recipe.
Cherry tomatoes: Look for fresh, plump cherry tomatoes. You need the sweetness, so find the best ones on the market.
Tabasco sauce: The ever so popular spicy sauce is great for making salad dressings. Just 1 tsp or 5 good shakes will be enough unless you’re a Tabasco fiend and need more!
Horseradish cream: Easily found in the sauce section of your supermarket. It has bite yet creamy, so it allows the salad dressing to thicken up.
Olive oil: Use the olive oil you prefer the most.
Apple cider vinegar: Gives the dressing the much-needed tartness yet with slightly sweet undertones.
Worcestershire sauce: Tangier and sweeter than soy sauce. This gives the dressing some umami flavours.
Salt and pepper: to taste
How to Make Crisp Parsnip Ribbons
Preheat oven to 200°C or 400°F.
Peel the parsnip and discard the skin. With a wide mouth peeler, shave the parsnip all around and stop at the core to create ribbons.
In a small mixing bowl, add the parsnip ribbons, melted butter and a pinch of salt. Mix until well combined.
Line a sheet pan with some baking paper. Spread out the coated parsnip ribbons on the baking paper and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove after 10 minutes and place the well crisped ribbons to one side and turn the others. Check every 5 minutes until all the ribbons are well crisped.
How to Make the Rest of The Salad
Steam the baby corn spears for 5 minutes.
Wash and pat dry the baby spinach leaves.
Pick the oregano leaves to yield ⅓ cup.
Dice half the orange capsicum into small pieces.
Wash and pat dry cherry tomatoes. Cut in half.
How to Make Tabasco Horseradish Vinaigrette
In a small mixing bowl, add the Tabasco sauce, horseradish cream, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
Mix until well combined.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a large mixing bowl, add baby corn spears, baby spinach leaves, oregano leaves, cherry tomatoes, and orange capsicum.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the Tabasco horseradish vinaigrette and mix until well combined.
Place salad on a nice platter.
Gently add the crispy parsnip ribbons on the top.
Variations and Substitutions
Baby spinach substitute: You can use any mixed leaves for this recipe. Ensure it’s a good mix and not rocket/arugula heavy as it would be too peppery for this salad.
Any capsicum: Any coloured capsicum or bell pepper will be fine to use. The orange just gives the salad recipe a pop of colour. You can use baby capsicum, too that usually comes in a medley of colours.
Any tomato: You can use any tomato for this recipe. However, cherry tomatoes would be better so it won’t be so watery.
Parsnip alternative: You can substitute parsnip with carrots or sweet potatoes. They will crisp up beautifully in the oven too.
Oregano substitute: Marjoram, tarragon and parsley can be used instead of oregano. Perfect if you have some leftovers you want to try and use.
Horseradish cream replacement: Dijon mustard or even some wasabi can replace horseradish cream in the salad dressing.
Vegan version: Use vegan butter to make this vegan corn salad.
Great Mains for This Salad
Beef Strip Loin: Impress your guests. This beef strip loin, also referred to as NY strip, comes out tender, juicy and insanely delicious. The baby corn salad will be the perfect side dish for this beef recipe.
Cinnamon Chicken: This recipe is deliciously savoury with a surprising burst of flavour! Shop your pantry and use what you have on hand to make a full meal. Use for weekly meal prep with this baby corn side salad.
Glazed Tofu Roast: This glazed tofu roast is the baked tofu centrepiece of your dreams. Prepared in a smoky-sweet marinade, slow-roasted and then covered in a spicy orange glaze, this is a succulent roast that makes a beautiful main meal when served up alongside this delicious baby corn salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
For this salad, fresh baby corn should be used. The canned baby corn is only suitable if you’re using it in a stir fry or stew type recipes. To eat it steamed and fresh in a salad, the canned version won’t taste the same.
Yes, you can! However, ensure that the parsnip crisps are kept in a dry, cool space and not closed up in a container for too long as they will lose their crispness. Just add it on top of the salad just before serving.
You’ll be able to find it in the sauce aisle of your local supermarket. Try the section that houses all the chillies or spicy condiments. You can find them in Costco if you’re after a giant bottle!
Oregano plays an important role in this recipe, and it has to be fresh leaves. The dried versions won’t give you the lovely smells and fresh textures.
Dried oregano for salads would only ever be used as a marinade or perhaps in a salad dressing recipe. Fresh herbs otherwise are always best.
Fresh baby corn is just delightful and shouldn’t always be relegated to being stir fried only. Instead, showcase them in this easy to make salad with a spicy, slightly creamy salad dressing. Enjoy!
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Baby Corn Salad with Crisp Parsnip Ribbons
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- Preheat oven to 200°C or 400°F.
- Peel the parsnip and discard the skin. With a wide mouth peeler, shave the parsnip all around and stop at the core to create ribbons.In a small mixing bowl, add the parsnip ribbons, melted butter and a pinch of salt. Mix until well combined.Line a sheet pan with some baking paper. Spread out the coated parsnip ribbons on the baking paper and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove after 10 minutes and place the well crisped ribbons to one side and turn the others. Check every 5 minutes until all the ribbons are well crisped.
- Steam the baby corn spears for 5 minutes.
- Wash and pat dry the baby spinach leaves.
- Pick the oregano leaves to yield ⅓ cup.
- Dice half the orange capsicum into small pieces.
- Wash and pat dry cherry tomatoes. Cut in half.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the Tabasco sauce, horseradish cream, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
- Mix until well combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, add baby corn, baby spinach leaves, oregano leaves, cherry tomatoes, and orange capsicum.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the Tabasco horseradish vinaigrette and mix until well combined.
- Place salad on a nice platter.
- Gently add the crispy parsnip ribbons on the top.
- You can use any mixed leaves for this recipe. Ensure it’s a good mix and not rocket/arugula heavy as it would be too peppery for this salad.
- Any coloured capsicum or bell pepper will be fine to use.
- You can use any tomato for this recipe, although cherry tomatoes would be better so it won’t be so watery.
- You can substitute parsnip with carrots or sweet potatoes. They will crisp up beautifully in the oven too.
- Marjoram, tarragon and parsley can be used instead of oregano.
- Dijon mustard or even some wasabi can be used to replace horseradish cream in the salad dressing.
- Use vegan butter to make this vegan corn salad.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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