Sweet Corn

20 July 2022

One of the best things culinary about the summer is fresh corn on the cob. It is hand-held, butter drizzling down your chin, decadence.

Corn is best when eaten as soon as picked so your best choices are going to be at Farmers’ Markets and roadside stands. Choose those with bright green husks and fresh looking silk, not dry. They should be firm with kernels that are plump but not too large. Store it still in the husks until you are ready to cook it. Then pull off the husks and remove as many of the pieces of silk as possible.

The traditional method is to put them in unsalted, cold water. Adding salt to the water will make the kernels tough. Be sure there is enough water to cover the ears. Bring to a boil and then boil uncovered for two minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes (while it continues cooking). It can also be microwaved or grilled.

It pairs well with basil, cayenne, celery seed, chili powder, or rosemary.

Mexican Street Corn Macaroni Salad

Called elote by the natives, Mexican street corn is sold by vendors in little carts almost everywhere.

Ingredients:

  • 6 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked and rinsed
  • 1 pound elbow pasta
  • 2 tablespoons canola or corn oil
  • 1 cup cotija cheese, crumbled, plus more for garnish
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 – 3 limes, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Boil corn and remove with tongs. Drain on paper towels. Return water to a boil. Add pasta and cook just beyond the al dente stage or until slightly soft. Rinse with cold water and drain. Allow to cool thoroughly.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a grill for direct cooking over medium heat (or heat a grill pan over medium heat). Brush corn with oil. Grill, covered (or tented with foil if cooking indoors), 6 to 8 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, until corn is lightly charred. Remove from grill and let stand 5 minutes to cool. Cut kernels from cob.
  • In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, the juice of two limes and the chipotle pepper. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Add drained pasta, corn kernels, cheese, green onions and cilantro; toss to combine. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes with Sauteed Corn

Paired with salad for a light lunch, or mini versions for snacks.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of fresh corn (2 cups)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Créme fraîche or sour cream
  • Snipped fresh chives (optional)

Directions:

  • Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cobs; do not scrape the cobs. (You should have about 2 cups kernels.) Set aside.
  • In a very large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving drippings in skillet. Finely crumble bacon; set aside.
  • Cook corn and onion in the reserved drippings over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly. Place half of the mixture in a food processor or blender. Process or blend until nearly smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in buttermilk, egg and the 1 tablespoon chives.
  • In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add buttermilk mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be slightly lumpy). Stir in the remaining corn mixture and bacon. Let batter stand for 5 minutes.
  • Heat a lightly greased griddle or heavy large skillet over medium heat. For each griddle cake, spoon about 1/4 cup batter into skillet. Spread batter, if necessary, into a circle about 3 inches in diameter. Cook about 2 minutes on each side, turning when griddle cakes are golden brown and edges are slightly dry.
  • Serve cakes warm with crème fraîche and, if you like, a sprinkle of additional chives.

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