Fresh Corn Is A Summer Delight

If there is one summer veggie that exemplifies the best of the season and the South, it is corn. This sta-ple is a regional favorite used in countless recipes from cornbread to simple roasted ears slathered with sweet butter. During the long summer, fresh ears from local farms are always available and full of huge kernels bursting with their own inimitable sweet flavor.

 

My favorite way to serve corn is as corn-off-the-cob in a broth everyone can tailor to his or her own special taste. Don’t even think about using frozen or canned corn when the stores and farmers markets are groaning under the weight of just harvested succulent ears of corn. Pick about five large ears, shuck them and remove the kernels. The best way for the last is to stand each ear in a wide deep-sided owl and cut with a sharp knife. The sides of the bowl keep the kernels from flying all over the kitchen. Who needs that kind of mess?
Cook your corn in chicken or vegetable broth. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for twenty minutes. While simmering, add a teaspoon of salt [sweet corn requires very little salt], pepper to taste and some finely diced onions [these will dissolve completely while cooking]. I always use a teaspoon of red pepper flakes as well as chopped red bell peppers or a diced carrot. The peppers and carrots add an appealing visual contrast with the yellow [I always use yellow] corn.

 

You corn-off-the-cob is basically ready to serve at this point and is perfect with thick sliced tomatoes on the side. The corn will still have a slight crispiness to it that you will never get from frozen or canned. If you prefer more creaminess to the dish, mix a tablespoon of corn starch with a few ounces of milk or cream before adding to the corn. Also add several ounces of unsalted butter and let simmer until the mix-ture thickens. This is also a wonderful base for corn chowders by adding chopped potatoes [pre-cooked] and/or chicken [pre-cooked and shredded or chopped]. Be sure to lightly salt and season the potatoes or chicken when pre-cooking.

 

–Dick Funderburke