Corn adds a contagious crunch: Check out these recipes

July 24, 2013 

From top, corn, string bean & potato succotash salad; grilled corn, avocado and cilantro; and tomatoes stuffed with fresh corn and mango salad.

MCT

  • HOW TO PICK AND PEEL CORN

    How do you choose terrific fresh corn? Well, don’t pull back the husks to see if 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, $40). “Instead, feel the ear with your fingers to detect whether the kernels are filled out or not. 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.”

    Bundt pan to rescue

    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 designed to do the job, but 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.

    Chicago Tribune

CORN, STRING BEAN & POTATO SUCCOTASH SALAD

Servings: 4 to 6

4 thin-skinned waxy potatoes

4 shucked ears of corn

1/2 pound trimmed string beans

1 finely chopped shallot

a handful fresh parsley leaves

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put potatoes in a pot of salted cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. While potatoes cook, add corn to the pot; cook 3-5 minutes. Remove corn from water; cool. Add 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.

Cut corn off cob into a large bowl. Cut potatoes into slices or chunks. Add to bowl. Drain beans, add to bowl. Add shallot, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently.

Adjust seasonings, adding more oil if needed.

TOMATOES STUFFED WITH FRESH CORN, MANGO SALAD

Servings: 6

6 large heirloom tomatoes

4 ears of corn

1/2 mango

1/2 bunch green onions

1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

1/2 jalapeno

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Cut tops off 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 corn and place in a large bowl. Add mango, peeled and diced; green onions, thinly sliced; halved cherry tomatoes; cilantro; jalapeno, finely minced; olive oil and lime juice.

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.

GRILLED CORN, AVOCADO AND CILANTRO SALAD

Servings: 4

4 ears of shucked corn

1 sliced avocado

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

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.

GRILLED CORN WITH CHILI-CILANTRO BUTTER

Servings: 12

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.

Meanwhile, 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.

CORN RELISH

Makes 2 large jars

4 ears corn

2 bell peppers, green or red, seeded and diced

2 celery stalks, finely sliced

1 red chile, seeded and sliced

1 onion, peeled and sliced

2 cups white wine vinegar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoons mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Using a knife, strip kernels from corn cobs. Blanch them in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain well. Put corn and other ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and stir. Simmer gently, stirring, for 15 to 20 minutes.

Check seasoning, then spoon into warmed sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. The relish should be a spoonable consistency and wetter than a chutney.

Cover, seal with nonmetallic or vinegar-proof lids, and heat-process for 5 minutes, then label. Once opened, store jars in refrigerator.

SPICY SUMMER CORN PUDDING

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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.

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 remaining ingredients and stir to combine well. Pour into prepared dish and bake 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve hot. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

GRILLED CORN, POBLANO AND BLACK BEAN SALAD

Makes 6 servings.

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 and next 5 ingredients; toss well.

Cut avocado into thin slices; place on top of salad. Makes 6 servings.

CUCUMBER-CORN SALSA

Start to finish: 10 minutes; makes 3 cups

2 ears of corn, husks and silk removed

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Hot sauce, to taste

Salt and ground black pepper

Carefully cut the kernels from the ears of corn. To do this, one at a time stand each ear on its wide end and use a knife to saw down the length of the cob.

In a medium bowl, combine the corn kernels, cucumber, celery, scallions, dill, and the lemon zest and juice. Season with a splash of hot sauce, salt and pepper.

Indulge your appetite for sweet corn, now in season, by shopping farmers markets, roadside stands and grocers for freshly picked ears, then crunching your way around cob after cob after cob.

And when you decide you’ve had enough, let these recipes seduce you into indulging one, two, three or more times with recipes that embrace summer’s best produce and the season’s easygoing attitude.

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