Sweet Corn happiness!
July means corn and the peaches that are just around the corner. I love corn! It is versatile and tasty. Once you’ve had your fill of corn on the cob (especially grilled corn on the cob!) - well, maybe that’s not really possible. Maybe it’s more accurate to say, once you’re ready to eat more than corn on the cob, there are so many delicious dishes to create. And, luckily, corn will be with us for a long while.
Early in this sweet corn season, I take the time to cut the kernels off the cob to freeze them for Thanksgiving dinner and beyond. It’s so easy to do. Just lay out the kernels in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze that way for about an hour. This is the home version of IQF or Individually Quick Frozen. Once your kernels have frozen in a single layer, you can then transfer them to a larger freezer storage container. I use freezer bags. This process will leave you with a lot of corn cobs. Do! Not! Throw! Them! Away! Or compost them, just yet! They still have life in them! The corn cobs should be frozen as well and will make delicious broth on their own or added to your own soups or broths in the making. Just pop them into whatever you’re cooking in the early stages and remove them before finishing the dish. They add a delectable depth of flavor.
I also cut the corn kernels off the cob to make sauteed fresh corn with onions and zucchini topped with grated Romano cheese. Summer is not complete without Corn Chowder, Corn Bread, Grilled Corn Salad with Peppers, Black Bean Salsa with Corn, and Potato and Corn Salad to name just a few.
I’ll share my Potato & Corn Salad with parsley, lemon and raw garlic recipe with you. It satisfies the “need” for potato salad but is a healthy version, full of flavor and peak of season ingredients. Garlic is at its most nutritious and beneficial when eaten raw and is in season now. While I’m a huge fan of Aioli - that French raw garlic mayonnaise type dip - I try to limit my egg consumption. So this salad is a nice way to get the benefit of raw garlic with other healthy ingredients. Parsley is a mineral rich superfood, corn is peak of season, and potatoes are a superfood as well. Potato’s health benefit is realized when not drowned in butter, cheese or other dairy products. So instead of using a creamy, dairy based dressing, I make a little gremolata dressing using olive oil, lemon juice, zest and the raw garlic for flavor and health. This salad is best when eaten slightly warm or at room temperature. So you can make it first and let it hang out in your serving bowl until the rest of your menu is ready without worrying about temperature sensitive dairy or eggs. Because this salad is made with only super healthy foods, it fills you up without being a gut bomb and, if you happen to go back for seconds (or thirds), you don’t have to feel guilty.
Potato and Corn Salad
Recipe by Chef Kelly Unger
Serves 6 to 8
4-6 large potatoes, golden or Russet, unpeeled and diced
2 ears of corn, kernels removed (or grill first)
1 medium red onion, diced
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
½ to ¾ cup EV olive oil
1 cup chopped parsley
1-2 lemons, depending on size
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of butter
Cover the cut potatoes with cold water, swish your hand around in the pot to rinse off some of the starch. Drain. Cover the potatoes again with tepid water by 1” and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a low boil and cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.
In the meantime, saute the onion in olive oil. When soft and lightly browned, add the corn kernels and butter and saute until browned,unless you are grilling the corn, then just remove from the cob and set aside. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Combine the garlic, ½ cup of the olive oil, the chopped parsley, the juice and zest of a lemon, a teaspoon of salt and several grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to mix well and set aside.
When the potatoes are tender, drain them and let them sit in the pot for a minute with the lid off to let the steam escape. Add the sauteed corn and onion and top with the garlic and lemon mixture. Stir everything gently with a large spoon to combine well. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed and add more olive oil if needed. Stir after any additions. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and also allow flavors to combine. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.