PEAK SEASON CORN: BUYING / COOKING TIPS + 6-INGREDIENT SALAD AND OTHER RECIPES
Corn is summer, and at no other point in the year is it as sweet and tasty as it is now. This is all my family is eating right now and in so many different ways. I wanted to give you guys a few tips on how to maximize your corn experience - from choosing the right cobs, cooking and shucking them, to a simple "how-to" corn salad and other recipes.
BUYING TIPS: Buying the right corn can make all the difference because corn gets starchy and loses sweetness after it's picked. Obviously, you want freshly-picked corn with bright, plump kernels, but you don't have to peel back the husks and peek to check them.
Look for bright green cobs where the husk is tight over the corn.
The silks at the end should be brown and slightly tacky and damp - if they are black and/or dried, the corn is a bit older.
Feel for the kernels through the husk to make sure they are plump.
Finally, check the top for wormholes and avoid any where it looks like they may have gotten through.
COOKING AND SHUCKING: I put these two together because I'm sharing with you my favorite way of cooking corn. Some prefer boiling which requires shucking the cobs first and getting rid of all of that pesky silk before cooking. Go for it if that's what you like (or if you want to give the kids something to do)!
I personally prefer a quick roast in the husks. 25 minutes at 400˚F in the oven (right on the rack) or on the grill set up for indirect heat makes sure you have super moist, flavorful kernels. The plus side? Once they are cool enough to handle, all of the silk slides right off with the husks. No mess! I then eat them straight from the cob, cut them off for a salad (see below) or toss them back on the hot side of the grill for a little char right before serving!
6-INGREDIENT CORN SALAD "HOW-TO": Corn salad shouldn't be something that requires exact measurements. Here is what generally goes into my corn salads.
Corn - cooked and off the cob (see roasting in the husks above). For a modest side, I figure 1 cob per person.
Peppers - hot, sweet, roasted, pickled. Add enough to add color.
Another surprise ingredient - Go seasonal with grape tomatoes, radishes, zucchini or arugula. Think starchy with potatoes, lima/cannelini beans or even couscous or bulghur. Again, enough to add color and mix to the salad.
Onion - shallots, red onion, scallion, Vidalia - raw, charred, caramelized, roasted. Just enough for flavor. You can overdo here, but not really under-do.
Herbs - basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, mint, tarragon. Choose one or use a few to layer flavor. You can't really go wrong.
Acid - cider vinegar, lime or lemon juice, sherry vinegar, pickled pepper juice. A few splashes.
That's it! Mix them together in a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add whatever is missing from above. Let the flavors marry for a few minutes before serving - it will taste even better the next day!
Looking for other recipes? Check out a few other ones I love.....
CORN WITH GREEN CHILI BUTTER & TOASTED COCONUT
SMOKY, SPICY CORN PUDDING
SOPA DE FLOR DE CALABAZA (SQUASH BLOSSOM SOUP)