There’s something about fresh, sweet, juicy corn on the cob that just screams summer. You bite into those pearl-like kernels and taste a burst of sweet juice. It just doesn’t get better than this.
Except it does: Sweet corn, in season, is really cheap. It starts out at two for $1, then four, then … well who knows? At farmer’s markets, especially at the end of the day, sometimes you can get six or more for a buck. Such a deal.
It’s great just as-is, shucked and dropped into a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes (don’t overcook it). Slather on a little butter and sprinkle on some salt and you’re in heaven.
You can get fancy and make some flavored butter to go on your cob. Just soften a stick of butter and add a handful of your favorite chopped herb — chives, rosemary, cilantro or whatever. You can even infuse the butter with chipotle or other chilies. Mix well, then place the butter on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll it up, twisting the ends, to make a tube of butter. Refrigerate till use. Spread the flavored butter on hot corn. Yum.
Give your corn a cheesy twist by sprinkling on finely grated cheese (we like Parmesan) while it’s hot. Or try a flavored salt.
To get a smoky flavor, grill your corn. Here are the instructions (and you can substitute your own seasoning preference). It takes about 10 minutes and you can do it while cooking your meat course.
If you prefer your corn off the cob, the possibilities are endless: corn chowder, corn pudding, corn salad, corn cakes, and many more uses. Add it to corn bread. Brighten up a salsa. Sneak it into the kids’ mac and cheese. You can get some great recipes here.
When the corn gets to the end of the season and becomes a little starchy or too tough, many of these applications work well. And if you end up buying too much corn, you can always freeze it for future use.
Fresh sweet corn is good for you, too. It’s high in fiber but also gluten-free, and contains some B-complex vitamins, such as thiamin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid. It also contains minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese.
And the bonus: It also tastes soooooooo good.
Here’s one recipe I like to make as a side dish for a late summer or early fall dinner: Corn “oysters.”
In a mixing bowl, combine:
2 cups of fresh corn (cut off the cob)
¼ cup flour.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add 1 tablespoon milk.
Separate 2 eggs and add yolks to this mixture.
In another bowl, beat 2 egg whites until stiff. Fold into the corn mixture gently but thoroughly. Heat a small amount of oil in a nonstick skillet and drop corn mixture by heaping tablespoons onto hot oil, like you’re making pancakes. Cook a few minutes on each side, till golden. Remove to a paper-towel-lined platter and keep warm till all are cooked. Serve immediately.
Makes about 20 “oysters” Figure on 3-4 per person.
Southwestern corn salad
One of my favorite ways to use fresh corn (or frozen, in a pinch, off-season) is with this Southwestern corn salad:
In a large mixing bowl or plastic container, combine
3 cups corn
1 (15–ounce) can black beans (rinsed and drained)
2 ripe tomatoes (cored, seeded and diced),
1 (4-ounce) can mild diced green chilies (or jalapenos, if you prefer a spicier salad)
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic, 3 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro
5-6 scallions (green and white parts minced), ¼ cup fresh lime juice and ¼ cup olive oil.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Let the mixture sit at least 3 hours, refrigerated, before serving, to meld flavors. Serves 10. Great for summer parties and tailgates — it doesn’t spoil easily, Also doubles as a salsa.
Love summer produce? You may also be interested in the following: