Let’s Talk Food: Fresh corn

  • Courtesy Audrey Wilson Fresh corn.

  • Courtesy Audrey Wilson Quentin with an ear of corn.

We can find fresh corn at the markets now as it is the season for them. When choosing ears, choose them with pliant, greenish husks and stems that are not cracked or dried out. Look for lots of moist silk, and feel for plump, not skinny ears.

You may find them in either yellow or white. The white variety has smaller kernels and is usually sweeter than the yellow ones. I love to eat my fresh corn, a kernel at a time, so the yellow ears, with the larger kernels, are the ones in like. It will take me a long time to eat one ear, but I am savoring it!

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There are several ways to cook corn:

• Grill ears in their husks or wrapped in foil over medium heat, turning for about 12 minutes.

• Broil the husked ears, turning to cook evenly, for about 10 minutes.

• Steam husked ears for about 5 minutes.

• Boil hisked ears in lightly salted water for 5 minutes.

• Microwave husked ears in a covered microwave-safe dish filled 1/3 full with water for 10 minutes on high.

• • •

If grilling, try this easy recipe for elote or Mexican corn on the cob. It is a very popular street food, usually served on a stick so you can walk around and eat it. Cotija cheese is the Mexican cheese needed for this antojito or craving, but you can replace it with feta or ricotta salata if it is not available.

Elote or Mexican Street Corn

6 ears of fresh corn, shucked and cleaned

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Chili powder

1/3 cup grated cotija cheese

Freshly chopped cilantro

Lime wedges

Preheat the grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill corn, turning often, until slightly charred all over, about 10 minutes.

Brush corn with a layer of mayonnaise and sprinkle with chili powder, cotija, and cilantro. Serve warm with lime wedges.

• • •

Got eight ears of corn to make this chowder? It is a great summer soup with some crusty bread.

To remove the kernels from the cob, lay an ear on the cutting board and cut the kernels from one side with a chef’s knife. Rotate the ear so the cut side is on the bottom, and cut the kernels from another side. Keep rotating the ear until all of the kernels are removed. Put the kernels in a bowl as you cut them off. Using the back of the knife, scrape the cob to extract the flavorful milk that remains.

Fresh Corn Chowder

Serves 6

Melt in a large pot over medium heat:

3 tablespoons butter

Add, stirring frequently until onions are softened and just starting to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes:

5 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 pieces

1 medium onion, finely minced, about 1-1/2 cups

Add and cook 1-1/2 minutes:

1/4 cup flour

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

While whisking, slowly pour in:

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then stir in:

8 ears of fresh sweet yellow corn, husked and silks removed and kernels cut from cob, including the milk from the remaining cobs.

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes , cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Add and season with salt and pepper to taste:

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and using a stick blender, blend until smooth.

Add:

1 cup half and half

1 tablespoon honey

Serve in soup bowls, sprinkle with:

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

• • •

Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, has an easy recipe for fresh corn salad in her cookbook, “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

Fresh Corn Salad

Ina Garten

Serves 4 to 6

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook 5 ears of fresh corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with:

1/2 cup small-diced red onion

3 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Just before serving, toss in:

1/2 cup chiffonade fresh basil leaves

Taste for seasoning and serve cold or at room temperature.

• • •

Want a Mexican salsa with corn?

Fresh Corn Salsa

Serves 6

Cook 6 ears of fresh corn in lightly salted water for 10 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool. Shuck the corn. Place in a large bowl. Add:

1 red sweet bell pepper, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1 red onion, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and pepper to taste

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Stir together, chill until ready to serve.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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