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Sweet corn season

September 6, 2011

“I have no hostility to nature, but a child’s love to it. I expand and live in the warm day like corn and melons.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fresh multi colored corn

I’m obsessed with fresh corn. It usually happens this time of year. The sunshiny cobs of juicy corn smile at me in their bin, wiggling their ears and promising a delectable good time. I am drawn in like a moth to the light, snatch up the ears and jaunt home. I am not disappointed.

There is nothing like biting into a fresh ear of corn. Your teeth slice through the corn with an audible crunch which heralds the explosion of the sweet corn and buttery flavor. Every time I eat an ear of summer corn I am always amazed at how truly good it is and how fleeting the season.

Corn is one of those vegetables that North America can boast as its own. Its cultivation started around 7,000 years ago by the Native Americans from a native grass called teosinte. Now how they figured out how to cross breed that small wheat like grain into the incredible edible corn is a mystery.

The Iroquois tribe was the first recorded to give sweet corn to some starving settlers and the rest is history. Sweet corn is very different from most of the corn grown in the world as in you can actually eat it raw. All other corn requires some sort of processing to be able to ingest it. (Needless to say, those corns are not so healthy for us.)

Sweet corn is harvested during the “milk” stage which is considered immature for all other corns, which are harvested during the “dent” stage. Since sweet corn is harvested at such a tender stage it is extremely perishable and needs to be eaten quickly! (Not a problem here.) When you are picking out corn to buy, make sure to open the husks a bit and see how tender and juicy the kernels are. If there are any dents in the kernels they are getting old and tough.

I took a poll on Facebook and everybody’s very favorite way to eat fresh corn is off the cob. I agree there is hardly anything better. But I took the challenge this week to find other ways to enjoy sweet corn off the cob. The kitchen was covered in corn silk and stray kernels but I came up with some dandy recipes. This one tied for first alongside the corn gelato. (Yes, corn makes a great ice cream! If you want the recipe go to here)

This recipe requires the corn to be cut off the cob. A great trick doing that is to cut it over a bunt pan, bowl side up. Use a small sharp knife and cut carefully down the cobs to get as much of the kernels as possible. The bunt pan will catch all the stray golden kernels that want to bounce all over the place. If you don’t have a bunt pan, a pie plate works good to.

South of the border burgers with corn salsa

Fresh corn salsa over south of the border burgers
This is such a wonderful recipe to highlight fresh corn. I’ve included both a meat and a vegetarian burger to cook for the corn salsa.

Corn Salsa
3 fat ears of sweet corn, cut off the cob
3 sun ripe tomatoes, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2-3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
2-3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice
1-2 teaspoons of smoked paprika (or regular)
1-2 teaspoons of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Black pepper to taste

Get out a beautiful bowl and stir all the ingredients together. Let them marry for about 15 minutes while you prepare the burgers, then taste. Add a little more lime, or salt and pepper to make the flavors pop. Serve over the burgers or anything else you think would be great. (Ice cream anyone?)

Beef Burgers
1 pound of grass fed ground beef
1/4 cup of diced canned green chilies, mild
1-2 teaspoons of chili powder
3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1-2 teaspoons of cumin
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Pepper jack cheese

For the meat burgers, mix everything together in a bowl. (Your hands work best for this.) Pat into 4 patties a 1/2” thick and set aside. Heat up the grill or a big frying pan and cook the patties about 5 minutes on each side till done to your preference. Place a slice of cheese on top then serve immediately with corn salsa over them and a few slices of avocado. Muy delicious!

Veggie burgers
10 oz of portabella mushrooms, washed and diced (about 2 big ones)
1 1/2 cups of canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup of diced canned green chilies, mild
1-2 teaspoons of chili powder
1 egg
3/4 cup of fine breadcrumbs
1-2 teaspoons of cumin
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of minced fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Pepper jack cheese

In a food processor, chop the mushrooms into extra fine pieces. Slowly add the beans, process a bit more, then add all the rest of the happy ingredients until well combined. (I had to dump the mess out into a bowl and mix the last part in by hand. It was getting too sticky.) Let the mixture set for about an hour to let everything set. Gently make 4 -6 patties out of the mix. (This is a delicate process but works well if you wet your hands first) Heat up a non-stick skillet or griddle to a mediumish heat and liberally coat with a high heat oil. Gently place the patties on to the griddle or skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until a brown crust begins to form. Place a slice of cheese on top then serve immediately with corn salsa over them and a few slices of avocado. Muy bueno!

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 6, 2011 7:21 pm

    I love corn too – and the next time we have burgers I will try prepare them as you have done over a patty. And the veggie patty looks good to – though I will have to leave out the chillies 🙂

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