I usually end up making this salad when I have leftover cornbread. Cornbread, like most bread and baked goods, is really only at it's best the day you bake it, or up to one day after. After that, you need to start getting creative (or make sure you freeze it!). I like to make croutons from stale cornbread- and this is my favorite salad on which to put those croutons. I should probably note that if you're not likely to have 2-day old cornbread sitting around, you don't need those croutons for this salad. It already has roasted corn in it, and let's be honest, with sweet potato, corn, avocado, and smoky-spicy-creamy dressing, this salad is already pretty dang delicious.
Ooh, and another thing that I like to do is make this into a chopped salad wrap. To do so, take a cup or two of the salad (minus the croutons) and chop it up with a big knife on the cutting board, so that all the salad components are fairly small and uniform in size. Throw it back into a salad bowl and toss it with a couple of tablespoons of the dressing, then wrap the whole thing up in a warm tortilla. It's really, really good and reminds me of old DC lunches at the Chop't Salad Company across the street from Metro Center. Did anyone else think that place was awesome? So simple, and yet so perfect.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn Salad
You could definitely throw some shrimp, chicken, or steak on this salad as well if you wanted to take it in a non-vegetarian direction. Then it would be the perfect "meal salad" that belongs on a restaurant menu anywhere. Also, if you want to make those cornbread croutons, just chop up some cornbread into crouton-sized cubes, sprinkle with a little olive oil, and bake in the oven until the cubes are dried-out and have golden-brown crisping around the edges.
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 cup corn kernels (fresh is best, but canned or frozen works if you can't get fresh)
1 avocado, cubed
1 tomato, cubed
1 cup cornbread croutons
for the dressing:
1/4 cup (60 g) mayonnaise
1/4 cup (60 g) creme fraiche or sour cream
2 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
splash of worcestershire sauce
1. Wash and spin dry the lettuce. Tear into pieces and put into a large salad bowl.
2. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Line a baking tray with foil and sprinkle a little olive oil on the pan. Put the sweet potato cubes and corn in a flat layer on the tray. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, and season the sweet potato and corn liberally with sea salt and paprika. Roast for approximately 20-30 minutes - don't let it burn.
3. Toss the roasted sweet potato and corn with the lettuce, tomato, avocado, and croutons if you have them.
4. Make the dressing by chopping the chipotle peppers up into a fine mince, and mixing them with the mayo, creme fraiche, vinegar, garlic, a pinch of salt, and a few sprinkles of worcestershire sauce. Pour in the buttermilk slowly until the dressing is the consistency you prefer- thin and pourable or thick and creamy (I go for something in the middle).