Enjoy every kernel of this season’s corn

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2016

By Deirdre Parker Smith


SALISBURY — They say the best time to cook fresh corn is right after you pick the ear off the stalk — to have the boiling water waiting before you go out to harvest.

The minute you pick an ear of corn, the sugars start to change to starches. Supersweet varieties stay sweet longer than some of the old standards.

Sugar loss slows down if you refrigerate it, or at least stack it in a single layer. The corn can overheat in its husk and needs breathing room. You should cover the ears with a damp cloth.

For the supersweets, you’ve got more time and the corn will remain sweet for days after harvest.

For fresh corn, remove the husks and silk and boil for 5-8 minutes. Place ears in a steamer and steam 8-12 minutes, depending on the corn’s maturity.

To grill, turn down the husk and remove silks, take off the outer leaves. Dip the corn, husk and all, in water. Drain, wrap husk around and put over hot coals for 20-25 minutes, turning frequently.

Some people swear that microwaving is the best method to cook corn. Peel down husks and remove silks. Brush ears with melted butter and pull up husks. Fasten with a string. Place in a microwave, allowing at least 1 inch between ears. Cook 4 minutes at full power and turn corn. Cook 4 more minutes. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

If you get tired of fresh corn on the cob, slathered with butter. change it up with different toppings or use it in a recipe. To help you with portions, one ear of corn produces about a half cup for corn kernels, depending on the size of the ear.

Additions to corn on the cob are only limited by your imagination. Butter and salt is all many people need.

But you can wrap corn with bacon and grill it, you can add herbs to the butter. How about Buffalo corn, drizzled with butter and wing sauce, sprinkled with blue cheese?

For Mexican corn, use cojita cheese, cayenne pepper and lime juice.

Sprinkle corn with parmesan cheese and garlic powder.

Boil your corn with two 12-ounce bottles of beer, 2 cups water and 2 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning.

There’s the popular tomato and corn salad, which is a snap and ideal for this time of year. Mix 2 cups of cooked corn kernels, 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes, 2 diced cucumbers (small), the juice of 2 limes, 1/4 cup cilantro, 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 chopped, seeded jalapeño pepper.

By now, you must have had

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

2 cups cooked corn kernels

1 can drained and rinsed black beans

1 1/2 cups diced onion or green onions

a little hot sauce or a fresh jalapeño

2 Tbsp. lime juice and the same amount of olive oil

Toss in chopped cilantro at the last minute and serve with any meat or even top a hotdog with it.

Have a corny breakfast by adding corn kernels to your eggs or stirring fresh corn into your grits. You could also make a corn fritatta for a crowd.

Corn Fritatta

8 beaten eggs with 1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup cooked corn kernels

3 chopped scallions

1 cup grated cheddar

Pour into an oiled 8-inch ovenproof skillet and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes. Place in 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until set.

This is a new idea from foodnetwork.com: Cheesy corn toast, Brush frozen Texas toast with mayonnaise, top with shredded cheddar, sliced tomatoes and raw corn kernels. Bake at 400 degrees until cheese melts, about 8 minutes.

Corn Relish

1 cup cooked corn kernels

1 red green pepper

1 green bell pepper

1 stalk celery

3 scallions

Dice the peppers, celery and scallions. Toss with 3 Tbsp. cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp. each olive oil and brown sugar, 3/4 tsp. celery seeds and 3/4 tsp. kosher salt.

Confetti corn

8 bacon slices (optional)

6 cups fresh corn (about 8 ears)

1 cup diced sweet onion

1/2 cup each red and green bell pepper, chopped

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cubed

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

If using bacon, cook in large skilled until crisp. Remove and drain bacon. Save 2 Tbsp. drippings. Sauté corn, onion and bell peppers until tender, about 6 minutes. Add cream cheese and half-and-half, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in sugar, salt and pepper. Top with bacon and serve.

This is a favorite at our house, and we always make it with fresh corn, though the recipe calls for a 15-ounce can of corn. We don’t use the can of creamed corn, instead using the milk from fresh corn. This recipe is sort of like a loose cornbread or spoonbread and goes with everything, or is delicious all by itself.

Corn Souffle

1 (15 1/4 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained, or about 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels

1 (14 3/4 ounce) can creamed corn

1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (Jiffy)

1 cup sour cream

1/2 stick butter, melted

1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or a mix of cheddar and monterrey jack

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together both kinds of corn, the corn muffin mix, sour cream and melted butter.

Pour into a greased 9- by 13-inch baking dish Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and top with cheese. Return to over for 5 or 10 minutes to melt cheese. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving and serve warm.

If you want to hit most of the tastebuds on your tongue, try

Corn Salad with Feta and Walnuts

1 cup walnuts

4 cups fresh corn kernels

2 jalapeños, siided and thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp. olive oil,

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup crumbled feta

You can toast the walnuts on a baking sheet in a 400-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes, then chop. Mix all ingredients and sprinkle with feta before serving.

This is sweet, salty, spicy and sour, as well as crunchy.

How about a cobbler? (both recipes from RealSimple magazine)

Corn Cobbler

12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for the dish

1 jalapeño, minced

4 green onions, sliced

4 cups fresh corn kernels

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 cups flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 Tbsp. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried

1 cup whole milk

Heat oven to 375. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp. butter. Add the jalapeño and scallions. Cook for 3 minutes. Add corn and broth. Increase heat and cook for 4 minutes.

Turn off heat. Stir in cream, 1 tsp. of salt and pepper. Pour into a buttered 9-by-13-inch dish.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and remaining salt. Using two knives, a pastry cutter or your fingers, add the remaining butter, cut into small pieces. Mix until it resembles small crumbs. Stir in the thyme and milk.

Drop heaping spoonfuls of batter on top of the corn mixture. Bake for about 50 minutes.