Grilled corn, tomatillo and red pepper salsa

A great blend of summery flavours!

I am a big fan of grilled corn on the cob. Somehow the smokiness imparted by grilling seems to accentuate the corn’s natural sweetness. It’s also a great way to enjoy corn on a hot summer’s day without heating up your kitchen. This salsa is a perfect showcase for sweet corn and peppers; their flavour is balanced nicely by the tartness of the tomatillos and the tangy vinegar. You can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe for a large gathering and, like most salsas, it tastes even better when it’s had a little time to sit. I hope the nice people at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market (especially Needham’s and Just Farms who supplied the key ingredients for this dish as part of this edition of the fun Farmers’ Feast challenge) think about giving this recipe a try – it’s one I’ll be making over and over again. It’s great with tortilla chips but I am certain it will be equally delicious on grilled chicken or fish; you could even sprinkle it on lettuce for a quick, zippy salad.


  • 1 ear fresh corn, shucked
  • 3 tomatillos, papery skin removed
  • 1/2 small red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) minced hot pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) white sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) each salt and pepper, or to taste
  • few dashes hot sauce, if desired


  • Preheat barbeque to medium hot. Put a small grill pan (or piece of heavy duty foil) on the grate, on one side of the grill.
  • While grill heats, cut tomatillos into 1/2 inch wide (1.25 cm) wedges and slice red pepper into 1/4 inch (.6 cm) wide strips.
  • When barbeque is hot, place husked ear of corn directly on the grill. Cook, turning often, for about 10 minutes, until corn is nicely charred.
  • While corn cooks, put tomatillos and red peppers in the grill basket or on top of the foil and cook for about 5 – 7 minutes, until softened and edges are charred. Remove from barbeque.
  • Dice cooked tomatillos and red pepper and place in a bowl. Add hot pepper, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • When corn is cooked, remove the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife or corn zipper/stripper and add to the bowl. Stir well to combine and taste. Adjust seasoning (sugar, salt, pepper, hot sauce) to your liking and serve with tortilla chips for dipping.
  • If not serving immediately, cover bowl and let sit at room temperature for up to 6 hours; refrigerate for longer storage.

Makes approximately 1.5 cups (375 mL) of salsa.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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