Oh, Sweet Corn! It’s come in early. And it’s so sweet, you can eat it straight up, as it’s just hours out of the field. The only place to find corn this fresh is at the Farmers Markets. Look for heirloom varieties, like bi-colored yellow and white, hand picked to insure the ears are not bruised or damaged as they are when harvested by machine. Remember those varieties are grown for flavor (not because they store or ship well).
When it’s really truly fresh, you don’t really need to cook it. Down south, folks just cut the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife, then take the dull backside of the blade and run it over the cobs to be sure to press out any remaining milk. Then they just splash it with a little cream, season it with a bit of salt and pepper, and serve it right away.
The best way to cook corn? Get the shucked ears into a pot of boiling water (don’t salt the water, that toughens the kernels) as soon as possible and watch for the color to darken (no more than a minute). Remove the corn. (No need to add milk or sugar, that’s an old trick once used to revive overly mature ears.) Then all you need is some great butter (Hope Creamery is great). Or try this recipe for roasting corn, that is, charring it so that it cooks in its own juices, which sweetens and intensifies flavors. Try this as a side dish, or toss in some cooked chicken and zap it with hot sauce for a simple side dish.
Pan Roasted Sweet Corn
Serves 4 to 6
2 c. fresh corn kernels (cut from 6 ears of corn)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 small zucchini, diced
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 T. fresh lime juice or to taste