Whether we are eating our corn on the cob, roasted and slathered with fresh hot butter or shucked in a hearty side, there's so many ways to enjoy this sweet or savory ingredient in the summer.
"I love using corn in my dishes due to its versatility. Different corns vary in flavor, such as silver queen corn, nice and sweet. How you prepare it can totally influence it's flavor as well. Oven roasting it with the husk on almost gives a flavor of hay. Grilling it makes it deliciously smoky and sweet. Or you can cut it off the cobb and make cream corn," says Mel Toledo, owner and chef of Foundation Social Eatery, just outside of Atlanta.
Picking a Husk
It's the summer time and everyone is having a BBQ at least once a week. Buy some local corn and get grilling! When you are choosing the corn, look for a deep yellow color and firm corn kernels, says Paige Hospitality Group's Corporate Executive Chef Stephen Yen. "The corn husk should also be fresh, when you peel it back you should hear a snap at the end. If the husk is wilted or discolored that's a sign that the corn has been off the stalk for too long," says Yen.
When you grill the corn you either want to leave the husk on or wrap the ears in aluminum foil. "We like to leave the husk on, because the water content will help the cooking process. In today's day you will also feel better by keeping the husk on instead of using aluminum foil because you're using less resources – it's all about "Going Green"! We suggest letting the corn cook off to the side, and not directly over the heating element. After about 15-20 minutes, check the corn. If it's ready, remove either the husk or aluminum and brush with butter, then place directly over the heating element for five seconds on each side," says Yen.
Shucking Your Corn
Not every dish will involve utilizing the cobb, in fact many don't. "Buy corn at the height of its growing season when it's most plentiful and delicious. Cook large quantities, de-cob and then freeze for year-round use. After you've cooked the corn and allowed it to cool, place a rimmed baking sheet in the sink. Cut the tip of the cob to create a flat end," says Kerry Dunnington, chef and author of two new cookbooks, Tasting the Seasons: Inspired, In-Season Cuisine That's Easy, Healthy, Fresh and Fun and This Book Cooks: Farm-Fresh Traditional Recipes for Healthy Contemporary Cooking.
"With a sharp paring knife (starting from the top) slice the corn as close to the cob as possible (you can usually cut about 4 rows at a time), removing corn until you've reached the bottom of the cob. Do this until you've finished removing all the kernels from the cob. With the dull side of the paring knife, use the same technique to extract the heart of the kernel from the cob. I freeze corn in one- and two-cup portions (it can be a bit difficult to separate fresh corn once frozen into portions)," says Dunnington. This helps when you need a certain measurement in recipes.
The corn kernels burst with sweet juice and a nutty char from the grill, while the accompanying chipotle mayo and chile de árbol offer a slightly spicy kick. The combination of the mayo and cotija cheese offers a pleasant creaminess and slight tanginess. Tastes like the perfect summer dish hot off the grill." "This dish is inspired by eloteros that sell the street-style Mexican corn. They typically offer a variety of condiments (mayonnaise, garlic salt, tajin, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and more). We added our own spin by elevating the dish while still remaining true to its roots," says Chef Manuel Trevino of Horchata New York.
- 1 ea. Corn Ear, Blanched and Braided
- As Needed Butter
- As Needed Salt
- As Needed Lime, juice
- 2 oz. Chipotle Mayo
- 3/4 oz. Cotija Cheese
- 1 tsp. Arbol Chili Powder
- 1/4 ea. Lime Wedge
- Brush corn with butter and season with salt. Place on grill and char all sides.
- When corn comes off the grill, rub with lime half. Brush corn with chipotle mayo, dredge in cotija cheese and finish with a sprinkle of chile de arbol powder.
- To plate: place on a long plate. Garnish with 2 lime wedges to keep it from rolling on plate. Squeeze with lime before serving.
- 1 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
- 3 Tbsp. Chipotle Puree
- Pinch of salt
Credit: Noah Fecks
- In a bowl combine mayonnaise and chipotle puree. Stir well until incorporated.
- Add salt to taste. Set aside.