(Perfectly Cooked Sweet Corn - how-to in post)
"Sex is good. But not as good as fresh, sweet corn." - Garrison Keeler
Every summer there's a little glitch in my memory, where I forget just how much I love sweet corn. Then I buy some, and the next thing I know I'm stocking up by the dozen, piling the cobs on the counter until I'm up to my ears in, well... ears!
This year, though, I didn't forget... this year I was ready. Ever since last summer, when I fell head-over-heels in love with the sweetest sweet corn I'd ever tasted, I've been lying in wait for these golden kernels, these nuggets of sweetness, to hit the market. A few weeks ago, they finally did... and you can bet I've been taking full advantage.
(Doesn't produce always taste better when it comes from a rickety ol' cart by the side of the road?)
Now, there are a lot of ways to cook and eat corn. One of my favorite dishes is Mexican Calabacitas - a summery mix of zucchini and peppers, made one hundred times better by the bright pops of sweet corn bursting through every bite.
(Click here for recipe: Calabaticas)
Or you could throw together a bowl full of this Black Bean and Quinoa Salad, with sweet corn and cilantro:
(Click here for recipe: Black Beans & Quinoa Salad )
Or perhaps you're in the mood for these Sweet and Spicy Corn Fritters, topped with a little sour cream and salsa:
(Click here for recipe: Sweet & Spicy Corn Fritters)
But if you're like me, you don't really need a recipe to enjoy corn... you just need, well. Corn. And maybe a bit of butter and salt.
As for cooking, there are a few popular methods... boiling is nice, but takes a bit of time. Baking can be good, but who wants to turn on the oven in the middle of summer? Grilling brings lots of flavor and a nice char, but not everyone has a grill (ahem - yet). Also, most of these methods require the corn to be shucked prior to cooking. I have many a fond memory, as a child, being sent outside with a paper bag to shuck a mountain of corn. I hated it... and it almost made me hate corn all together. Fortunately, I discovered an easier way.
The microwave! Not always my favorite kitchen tool, but for certain things the microwave gets the job done better than any other. As for corn, it turns out perfectly steamed every time. And the best part is, removing the husk is a breeze! You see, corn comes in its own, special steaming pouch... so don't go ripping it open! Just pop the corn in the microwave, remove to cool, then peel back the husk. Trust me, all those little threads will come right off.
Microwave one ear of corn, on high, for 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 minutes (I like my corn a little al-dente, and usually go for 1 min. 45 sec.)*
Carefully remove the corn from the microwave, and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes, or until you can handle it.
Peel back the husk, season as you like with butter and salt, and enjoy!
For two ears of corn, double the cooking time. Stop halfway through to rotate the ears. I don't suggest doing more than 2-3 ears at a time, unless you have an absurdly large microwave.
*Note that the times may vary depending on your microwave.
And there you have it - perfectly cooked sweet corn, done in just a few minutes, without dirtying a single dish and without heating up the house in the middle of summer.
Now, if you'll excuse me... my microwave just dinged.
Tell me - what's your favorite way to enjoy summer's sweetest vegetable/grain/starch?