by Maryellen Driscoll
from Fine Cooking #100, p. 35
On our farm, corn is a watched crop. First by the ravens eager to pluck the new tender sprouts. Then by Mooky, our brawny Lab, keen on scaring off any large-winged bird that hovers over the fields. And finally, we watch. We keep the weeds knocked back until the stalks grow enough canopy to shade them out. We greet the sight of the corn’s emerging ears. We watch the tassel—the browning of the cascading silk a tell-tale mark of ripening.
Then, when we know it’s time, we sample the results of all that watching and waiting. Raw. Right there in the field. Corn that fresh pops with a milky sweetness that dribbles down our chins, over our hands, and onto our T-shirts. There’s no pot, no grill. No butter or salt. And definitely no table manners.
There’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into that first crop of summer corn. But the sweet, nutty, creamy qualities that make it so delicious are also what make it well suited to a surprising variety of dishes. Relish it on the cob, slathered in butter and stippled with salt. Then, cut it off the cob and try it in a spare and silky soup. Or in a fresh salad with cherry tomatoes and edamame, corn kernels are toasted in a skillet to tease out their nutty essence. Stirred into risotto, a creamy mash of grated corn makes this rich dish all the more luscious. The possibilities are endless, and the rewards for the long corn wait are sweet.
Learn about all the different varieties of sweet corn, plus how to buy, store, and prep it. And, if your recipe calls for grilled corn on the cob, watch our video to learn how to grill corn so that it's tender and sweet with just the right amount of char.
Sweet corn recipes:
Photos: Scott Phillips