Friday, June 29, 2018

It's Finally Corn Season!


We can thank the Mayans for the crop that is now the third largest grown in the world for human consumption. The Native Americans educated pilgrims on how to grow Maize, as they called it. Hundreds of years later, Southern cuisine wouldn’t have been the same without it. Not only do we rely on corn for our all-important staple of grits, we like to cream it, fry it, eat it raw in salads, and add it to stews. Keep the husks attached to use as handles with eating corn on the cob. Use a clean toothbrush to gently remove silks from the kernels.
Choose corn with silks that are blonde. The silks darken as the corn ages. Most shoppers check the plumpness of the kernels by peeling back the husks to see the kernels. It’s best to leave on the husks to keep the corn as moist as possible. If you can give the corn a squeeze and see if the kernels are plump, try that method.
Corn should be cooked as soon as possible after picking because the sugars convert to starch very quickly. Store up to one day in the refrigerator in an open bag.

Corn-and-Crab Chowder

My family and I love to stop at our favorite roadside stand for fresh Silver Queen corn on the way to the beach. It doesnt take long to simmer the sweet kernels with fresh-from-the-Atlantic crabs for a summer soup tradition.

MAKES 10 CUPS 
HANDS-ON 20 MINUTES 
TOTAL 1 HOUR, 15 MINUTES

6 bacon slices
2 celery ribs, diced
1 medium-size green bellpepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seededand diced
1 (32-oz.) container chickenbroth
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups fresh corn kernels(about 6 ears)
1 lb. fresh lump crabmeat,drained and picked freeof shell*
1 cup whipping cream
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1⁄2 tsp. table salt
1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground blackpepper
Oyster crackers
Garnish: chopped freshcilantro

1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes
or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels,
reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in Dutch oven. Crumble bacon.
2. Sauté celery and next 3 ingredients in hot drippings 5 to
6 minutes or until tender. Whisk together broth and flour until
smooth. Add to celery mixture. Stir in corn. Bring to a boil;
reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
Gently stir in crabmeat and next 4 ingredients; cook 4 to
5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve warm with crumbled
bacon and oyster crackers.
*1 pound peeled cooked shrimp or chopped cooked chicken may
be substituted.

Creamed Corn

Real creamed corn should be milky, creamy, and perfectly salty. If the corn isnthe freshest possible, you may need to add a little water at a time as it cooks to keep it from drying out. 

MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS 
HANDS-ON 40 MINUTES 
TOTAL 40 MINUTES

13 ears fresh corn, husked
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1⁄2 tsp. table salt
1⁄8 tsp. freshly ground blackpepper
Minced chives (optional)

1. Cut kernels from cobs to yield 6 cups; discard cobs. Cook
kernels in a small Dutch oven over low heat, stirring often, about
30 minutes or until corn is tender. (To prevent corn from drying
out, add up to 10 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time as
needed, during last 15 minutes of cook time.)
2. Stir in cream and butter, and cook, stirring occasionally, about
5 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency. Stir in
salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chives, if desired.

Balsamic Corn Salad

When corn is at its peak, there are few things better. With just a simple dressing, a colorful and bright side dish is created. This salad can be made ahead, so it’s ideal for warm weather parties and picnics. The light hue of white balsamic vinegar keeps the colors vibrant.

MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS 
HANDS-ON 14 MINUTES 
TOTAL 4 HOURS, 44 MINUTES

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
31⁄2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 8 ears)
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1⁄4 tsp. table salt
1⁄8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup packed arugula

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté
pan. Add corn kernels; cook 4 minutes, stirring often. Cool to
room temperature.
2. Whisk together 1⁄4 cup olive oil and next 4 ingredients until
combined.
3. Transfer cooled corn to a medium bowl. Add tomatoes.
Pour dressing over mixture, and stir well. Chill for 4 hours.
Add arugula just before serving.


Photo by Iain Bagwell from The Southern Vegetable Book by Rebecca Lang (Oxmoor House, 2016).
Copyright 2016 Rebecca Lang. All rights reserved. 
Please visit rebeccalangcooks.com for more information. 

1 comment:

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