Smoky Southwestern Corn, Pepper and Scallion Saute 6.000

James M. Thresher for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

May 12, 2010

Stir in a can of black beans or pinto beans if you want to give this saute a little more substance.

TIP: When you rinse the scallions before beginning to cook, don't dry them off. The excess moisture creates steam when the scallions hit the grill. That not only helps them wilt but also keeps them from burning on the grill.

Servings: 6 - 8 side-dish
  • 4 ears fresh corn, husked
  • 1 large red bell pepper, quartered and cored
  • 2 Anaheim or poblano chili peppers, cut in half and cored (may substitute Hatch chili peppers when in season)
  • 6 scallions (preferably large, so they don’t shrivel up on the grill), ends trimmed (see headnote)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 ancho or 2 chipotle peppers, coarsely chopped (1/2-inch pieces are fine)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 ounces queso fresco or feta, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste


Prepare the grill for direct heat: If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 4 to 5 seconds.

Place the corn, bell pepper quarters, Anaheim or poblano chili pepper halves and scallions in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

Transfer all of the vegetables to the grill rack. Grill the corn and the peppers for 4 to 6 minutes, turning them over after a couple of minutes, until the corn develops light grill marks and the peppers color and just start to soften. Grill the scallions for 1 to 2 minutes, turning them over after a minute, until they develop grill marks and just start to soften.

Transfer all of the grilled vegetables to a cutting board to cool slightly. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, cut the corn kernels from the cobs and coarsely chop the peppers and scallions.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil with the chopped ancho or chipotle peppers and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic starts to color a very light brown and the chili peppers become fragrant. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the cumin and cook for 20 seconds or until it becomes fragrant. Add the grilled peppers, scallions and corn kernels and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, until the mixture heats through and the color of the corn intensifies.

Remove from the heat; stir in the queso fresco or feta, cilantro and lime juice. Taste and add salt, pepper and/or lime juice as needed.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Rate it

Recipe Source

From food writer Tony Rosenfeld.

Tested by Tony Rosenfeld.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at