by Chrysa Smith
About this time of year, I’m reminded of my great uncle from Poland. A big round man with a long, stinky cigar, enormously wide tie and heavy slavic accent, he would never eat corn. “Eh, that’s for cattle!” he’d say, as the dish passed to the next person.
Veggies in a can may not be haute cuisine, but, at the height of growing season, I do think Uncle Zig missed a great American culinary treat. You can lend me a fresh picked ear anytime.
Right now, local corn is making its debut at local markets and even in my little vegetable patch. So, if only for the next month, I like to put away the potatoes, rice or bread and feature this short-season starch on my dinner plate.
The ears must be a bit plump looking–with the husks looking a little like a too-tight blouse
The husks must be green and maybe even a bit moist-looking. Stay clear of those that are dry or brown—they’re too old
I like mine boiled for about 15 minutes, brushed with a little melted butter and salt. When I have leftover ears, I’ll cut off the kernels and make a nice summer salsa (remember the post on summer salsas? Hmm? Try it with corn, red pepper, red onion, cucumber, cilantro and the lemon or lime/oil mixture)or use them for a corn casserole; this one from Paula Deen, Queen of Southern cooking and a master at slipping an extra stick of butter into recipes, without the slightest guilt–http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/corn-casserole-recipe/index.html
But to mix it up, I’m going to play a bit more on the grill this year. The expert advice is to soak the ears in water for about 15 minutes, let them dry, pull off a few layers of husks, pull back the remaining husks just a bit and brush with a little oil. Here you can add flavor: some cilantro, garlic or even nutmeg for a different kick. Then rewrap the husks and let ‘er rip on the grill. When the ear is properly grill-marked, I’ll turn off the heat and let them sit on a warm grill for about 15 minutes to make sure they’re cooked through.
I hope to enjoy them with a nice roast turkey (marinated with a little soy, Dijon mustard and orange juice/jam) a nice, light white wine and maybe even a short toast to a robust man–a man with a taste for tobacco, but sadly, no ear for corn.
I’ve actually shucked the corn, wrapped it in a wet paper towel and then microwaved for 4 minutes for one ear. Five to six minutes for up to four ears at once. I’ll have to try it with the husk on, Anne! No hot pots of boiling water in the middle of the summer–perfect!
Fresh corn, can’t beat it. I like to cook ears the easy way and it keeps in the moisture. Place one ear of corn, husks and all in the mircowave for three minutes. Comes out hot so be careful when shucking, but it’s done and delicious.