07-30-2007, 05:12 PM
Top Summer Corn Tips
It's hard to beat the taste of corn bought from a roadside stand. What if it's not organically grown? Corn doesn't absorb pesticides as easily as more delicate produce like spinach or berries, so you may want to save your money for other foods. Either way, here are some of my favorite tips for purchasing and preparing corn:
- Pick ears whose outer leaves cling tightly to the cob. They are the most freshly picked. And avoid buying corn wrapped in plastic or trimmed on both ends for "easier" eating. They tend to be dry and less fresh tasting.
- If husking, remove the outer to leave an inner layer of silk. Then wipe the cob with a damp cloth to remove stubborn excess strands that may cling directly to the kernels.
- If boiling, match the amount of salt added to the cooking water with brown sugar to intensify the taste.
- If roasting the corn in the oven or cooking it directly on the grill, leave the ears encased in their husks, rotating their position as they cook for 15 to 20 minutes. This method gently steams the corn, leaving it juicy and imparting a light smoky flavor.
- For a more intensely "charred" corn -- a great ingredient for a homemade salsa or a salad -- hold a shucked ear of corn upright on a flat surface and slice the kernels off in rows. Drop them into a preheated sauté pan and toast them dry until they start to darken on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Add a touch of butter, a pinch of sugar, salt, and cracked black pepper to finish, then remove from the heat.
- To use the cobs after they're cleaned of their kernels, make a corn stock! Simply arrange them in the bottom of a pot and cover with water and a touch of salt. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain and reserve the liquid. Discard the cobs. Use as a base for a soup, rice pilaf, or sauce. It freezes nicely as well
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