Celebrate the season of corn

Staff and wire reportsJuly 23, 2013 

  • Three more corn recipes Corn, String Bean and Potato Succotash Salad

    Cook: Put 4 thin-skinned waxy potatoes in a pot of salted cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. While potatoes cook, add 4 shucked ears of corn to the pot; cook 3-5 minutes. Remove corn from water; cool. Add 1/2 pound trimmed string beans to pot; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Scoop beans out of pot with a slotted spoon; cool quickly in a bowl of ice water. Drain potatoes when tender, about 20 minutes depending on size.

    Assemble: Cut corn off cob into a large bowl. Cut potatoes into slices or chunks. Add to bowl. Drain green beans, add to bowl. Add 1 finely chopped shallot; a handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped; 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently. Adjust seasonings, adding more oil if needed. Servings: 4 to 6

    Tomatoes Stuffed with Fresh Corn and Mango Salad Chop: Cut tops off 6 large heirloom tomatoes. Gently cut around inside edge of each tomato; use a spoon or your hands to scoop out most of the insides (reserve for another use) creating a cup. Sprinkle insides with salt and pepper. Cut off kernels from 4 ears corn and place in a large bowl. Add 1/2 mango, peeled and diced; 1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced; 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes; 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro; 1/2 jalapeno, finely minced; 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice.

    Mix: Gently mix to combine; season with salt. Spoon salad into tomato cups. Transfer to a platter. Garnish with fresh chive blossoms or another edible blossom (such as nasturtiums). Serve at room temperature. Servings: 6

    Grilled Corn, Avocado and Cilantro

    Heat grill to medium high. Grill 4 ears of shucked corn, rotating often until lightly charred, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut kernels from cob. Toss corn and 1 sliced avocado gently with 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus 1 tablespoon each fresh lime juice and olive oil. Season with coarse salt. Servings: 4

    From The Chicago Tribune. Recipes adapted from “Canal House Cooks Every Day” by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer (Andrews McMeel, 2012); “Meatless: More Than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes,” from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living (Clarkson Potter, 2013); and “Heather Christo’s Generous Table,” (Kyle Books, 2013).

  • Off the cob: Conquer the kernel dilemma

     We’ve put men on the moon but have yet to come up with a perfect corn de-kerneler – one that cleans a freshly shucked cob neatly while not shooting kernels all over the kitchen.

    Sure, there are at least a dozen clever implements (variously called strippers, kernelers, zippers, cutters and peelers) designed to do the job. None seem to work as well as a sharp knife and steady hand. Even that has its own problems: Holding that cob upright and steady while cutting off the kernels can be a challenge. Containing the kernels that shoot off the cob as you cut still another.

     To solve the slippery cob-on-counter issue, cookbook author and blogger Heather Christo offers this tip: “Cut corn on a clean dishcloth. It keeps the kernels from bouncing around after they have been sliced from the cob. I also like to use serrated knife – it makes cutting kernels off the cob easier.”  And while other cooks like using a shallow bowl, our favorite cob de-kerneling tip comes from Lisa Schumacher of the Chicago Tribune’s test kitchen: Using a Bundt pan, that tube pan with fluted sides, she positions a shucked ear of corn, stem down, into the tube’s opening. With a sharp knife, she cuts straight down the cob’s length to remove the kernels that drop into the pan. OK, 98 percent did when we tried it. But what’s a few kernels when you have to deal with several ears full? From The Chicago Tribune

July’s abundant crop of sweet corn is delayed a bit in some areas because of the wet spring, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying fresh corn on the cob.

Some corn has arrived at farmers markets – keep watch at the markets near you.

There are lots of good recipes for preparing fresh corn. One of the best is grilling corn on the cob in its husk. Simply throw the ears on the grill in one layer and cover. The corn steams in its husk and picks up a mild smokiness from the grill.

Or try the microwave: Place up to three ears of corn in the husk on a plate and microwave on high for 90 seconds to 2 minutes per ear. Remove the corn from the microwave, wrap in a kitchen towel and let sit for 5 minutes, then remove husk and enjoy.

How do you choose terrific fresh corn? Well, don’t pull back the husks to see whether it’s an ear you want because you’ll just dry out the kernels, writes Deborah Madison’s in her “Vegetable Literacy” (Ten Speed Press, 2013). “Instead, feel the ear with your fingers to detect whether the kernels are filled out or not.”

Madison, who may serve freshly cooked corn with an herbed salt or salsa verde, suggests opting for organic corn whenever possible. “And don’t let a worm scare you if you find it on the tip of an ear. It’s just a little creature, easily knocked off its perch.”

To see printable versions of the recipes, click on the links below:

Grilled Corn with Chili-Cilantro Butter

Spicy Summer Corn Pudding

Grilled Corn, Poblano and Black Bean Salad

Grilled Corn with Chili-Cilantro Butter From “The Farm” by Ian Knauer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012). 12 ears corn, with husks 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature 4 teaspoons chili powder 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tablespoon honey 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

PREHEAT grill. Place corn ears in their husks over low-burning coals (or over low heat on a gas grill) and cover the grill. Cook corn, turning occasionally, until it is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer corn (still in husks) to a serving platter.

HEAT 2 tablespoons butter in a small heavy skillet over medium heat until it is melted. Stir in chili powder and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is golden and chili powder is fragrant, less than 1 minute. Transfer chili powder mixture to a food processor, then add honey, cilantro, remaining 6 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper, and pulse to combine. Transfer chili-cilantro butter to a bowl and serve with corn. Yield: 12 servings

Spicy Summer Corn Pudding This is a classic recipe for corn pudding, but adding buttermilk instead of milk makes a short of cheesy curd that clings to the corn kernels in the finished dish. The smoky, slightly sweet flavor of ancho chile powder is perfect with corn. From “The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook” by Diane St. Clair (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013). 10 ears corn 4 eggs 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.

CUT kernels off corn and place in a large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, flour, butter, chile powder and salt. Stir to combine well. Pour into prepared dish and bake 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve hot. Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Grilled Corn, Poblano and Black Bean Salad From “Cooking Light Pick Fresh Cookbook” (Oxmoor House, 2013). 2 ears shucked corn 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 4 green onions 1 avocado, peeled, halved, and pitted 1 large red bell pepper 1 large poblano chile Cooking spray 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 can (15 ounces) unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained

PREHEAT grill to high heat. Brush corn with 2 teaspoons oil. Place green onions, avocado, bell pepper, poblano and corn on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill onions 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Grill avocado 2 minutes on each side or until well marked. Grill bell pepper 6 minutes on each side or until blackened; peel. Grill corn 12 minutes or until beginning to brown on all sides, turning occasionally.

CUT kernels from ears of corn; place in large bowl. Chop onions, bell pepper and poblano; add to bowl. Add 4 teaspoons oil, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper and black beans; toss well. Cut avocado into thin slices; place on top of salad. Yield: 6 servings

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