Chef Kelly Unger
Sweet Corn Season has arrived!
Aahhh Sweet Corn! The very words mean Summer. When any fruit or vegetable appears for the first time in the season, I like to enjoy it in its most simplest form the first time I eat it. For corn, that means corn on the cob with butter and coarse salt. As soon as I have scratched that itch, I quickly move through my favorite corn recipes and then on to trying new ones. Yes, I am Type A, in case that wasn’t abundantly obvious.
My next favorite on-the-cob way to enjoy sweet corn is boiled or grilled and topped with lime butter, salt, smoked paprika and shredded parmesan or cotija cheese.Truly, three of those can be a meal for me. And then there are so many off-the-cob things you can do. This ingredient is also super easy to freeze for long term storage. Just place the kernels cut off the cob in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for one hour, then store them in a container or freezer bag for late Fall chili and Winter soups. Equally important - remember to use the cobs! Use them for vegetable broth or enhancing meat broths, add them to quick soups made with water (and remove them just before finishing), add them to water you’re going to cook pasta in (add them at the start and bring the salted water to the boil as normal and remove them just prior to adding the pasta). Save this pasta water as well - use it as a soup thickener or enhancer. You can also add corn cobs to your charcoal grill and burn them as charcoal - after you’ve used them in soup, broth or pasta water - for completely zero waste cooking.
When cutting corn off the cob, I find there’s less kernels flying everywhere when I cut into a pie plate or some kind of dish that has at least a 1 inch lip. Sweet corn loves being paired with greens such as kale, collards or chard, potatoes, bacon, onions, peppers and zucchini. The pairing combinations are endless! Here are some of my favorite of-the-cob ways to enjoy this scrumptious summer favorite:
1. Sauteed in butter and olive oil until carmelized, salt and pepper to taste,topped with a light shredding of Parmesan, as a side dish. Often when zucchini is in abundance, I’ll start by sauteing the zucchini, then add the corn.
2. Sauteed with chopped greens and onion as a side dish.
3. Corn Chowder (heavy on the corn) using the new red potatoes, green bell pepper and I’ll add crab if I’m at the beach. P.S. I add cream or milk at the very end of cooking and I don’t use much, only enough to change the color, to keep the dish from being a gut bomb.
4. Corn Chowder Salad - a new recipe that came up in my Instagram feed ( licking my lips emoji) - https://smittenkitchen.com/2015/08/corn-chowder-salad/
5. Ina Garten’s Sagaponack Corn Pudding - https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/sagaponack-corn-pudding
6. Grilled (lots of char), cut off the cob and sprinkled on top of a bed of greens with very thinly sliced fresh onions (in season now too!), mozzarella, basil and fresh blueberries with a thick balsamic drizzle or fresh blueberry dressing (in a blender - fresh blueberries, olive oil, white balsamic, salt and pepper - works well with raspberries too). Simple dish, but you are able to taste each ingredient at its peak.
And here’s a new one to try if you love tacos, Soft Corn Tacos with Sweet Potato, Poblanos and Corn from America’s Test Kitchen. With all of this heat, the poblanos should be in season shortly! https://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/11703-soft-corn-tacos-with-sweet-potato-poblanos-and-corn
You can find delicious sweet corn, bacon, fresh onions, Gourmet Salad Blend, Blueberries, Raspberries, Zucchini, greens and so much at the Doylestown Farmers Market, Saturdays from 8am to 1pm. Enjoy!