Recipes @ Cooking with Sweet Corn

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cooking with Sweet Corn

During the height of summer, local farm stands often overflow with ears upon ears of fresh sweet corn. There's something spectacular about savoring fresh just-picked corn, whether you eat it off the cob or enjoy kernel after kernel in a salad or in corn fritters. Not only is corn versatile, it's simple to prepare.

When shopping for corn, aim to buy it when it's in season from July to September. Select ears that have bright green husks and moist, golden brown silk. Although most farmers' market owners really hate when you do this, pull back part of the husk and make sure you can see tightly packed rows of plump kernels that exude a milky juice when you prick them with your thumbnail. (Some owners may already have a "sample" corn to show you exactly what an ear looks like inside.)

It's important to keep your purchased corn cool. Once picked, the sugars in corn start converting to starch. To slow this process, consider taking along a cooler filled with ice if you aren't able to get it home right away.

To husk an ear of corn, strip off the husk and pull away the silk. You can remove any remaining strands of silk by taking a damp paper towel and brushing it downward against the rows of kernels. To remove kernels from an uncooked corn cob, hold the corn cob firmly at an angle. With a sharp knife, cut down the ear of corn, cutting off several rows at a time. Be careful to only remove the kernels when doing this; you don't want to pull off chunks of the cob.

There are many methods for cooking corn. One of my favorite ways is boiled corn. Simply drop husked corn into a stockpot filled with boiling water and milk (the milk makes the corn taste sweeter). Cook until the kernels are tender, about 4 to 7 minutes, and remove with tongs. Another method of cooking corn is by grilling. Pull back the corn husks, remove the silk, and then rewrap the ears in the husks. Soak the corn cobs in cold water for about 5 minutes. On a grill over medium heat, grill the wrapped cobs for about 15 minutes, turning several times. The kernels will be lightly golden brown and will have a slightly nutty flavor to them.

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