With fresh corn abundantly available during the summer months, I thought a column highlighting different flavors that can be an accent topping fresh corn would be welcome to readers.
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First, it’s helpful to know how to cook corn. It can be cooked three ways: boiling, steaming or grilling. I have friends that love to grill corn, because grilled corn has an extra level of flavor plus a smoky flavor. Use it in a variety of recipes like salsas, quesadillas and pasta dishes. We grill corn in the summer months; or we steam it, if the weather should be too hot or rainy. FYI, one ear equals about 1/2 cup of kernels. Feel free to cook an extra ear, by any method you choose and then you’ll have an extra 1/2 cup to add to soups, green salads or any dish.
Corn preparation — Boiling: Bring a medium to large pot of salted water to a boil (Note: pot size depends on how many ears of corn to boil); add husked corn and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Steaming: Place raw ears of corn in the steamer section with steaming hot water below. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes. Grilling: Brush husked corn with oil. Grill over high heat, turning until lightly charred for 8 to 10 minutes. Stay at the grill to turn it over before it completely blackens.
Once you’ve precooked the corn, the fun begins. Below are ideas that are flavorful toppings. The toppings generally will cover six to eight ears of corn.
Maple-chipotle corn — Puree 1 stick softened butter, 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1 tablespoon sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo. Spread on cooked ears of corn. If you’re hesitant about chipotles in adobo, replace with an equal amount of tomato sauce.
Sweet curry corn — Puree 1 stick softened butter with 3 tablespoons mango chutney and 2 teaspoons curry powder. Spread on cooked ears of corn.
Bacon-wrapped corn — Wrap raw ears of corn with 2 pieces of bacon each. Wrap individually in foil and grill over medium-high heat turning once, 15 minutes.
Buffalo corn — Whisk 6 tablespoons melted butter and 3 tablespoons Buffalo wing sauce. Brush on cooked ears of corn. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese, celery salt and chopped scallions.
Lemon-pepper corn — Mix 1/4 cup kosher salt, 2 teaspoons pepper and the zest of one lemon. Sprinkle on cooked ears of corn.
Caesar corn — Mix 3 tablespoons mayonnaise with 2 chopped anchovies, 1 grated garlic clove, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Brush on grilled ears of corn. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and toasted panko (Japanese breadcrumbs). They are lighter and more airy than regular breadcrumbs.
Corn in marinara — Sauté 6 sliced garlic cloves in olive oil, 1 minute. Add two 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes, 2 cups water, 2 sprigs basil and a pinch each of red pepper flakes and salt. Simmer 10 minutes. Add raw ears of corn and cook 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan.
Corn bean salsa — Toss 2 cups each cooked corn kernels, a 15-ounce can black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 diced mango, 1/2 red onion diced, 2 tablespoons each lime juice and olive oil and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.
Parmesan corn (don’t precook the corn) — Mix 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 grated garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon each chopped oregano and pepper. Brush on each raw ear of corn. Roast at 425 degrees until golden.
At your next festive barbecue wow guests with deliciously flavored corn and above all, enjoy.