Friday, September 6, 2013

Sweet on Corn

The end of summer is bittersweet.  The days are getting shorter, and a sweater is no longer optional.  But in these last warm days we are treated to a delicious and delectable harbinger of Autumn- Sweet Corn.  It is a vegetable that straddles the seasons. Both a summertime barbeque staple and a symbol of the harvest.

Regardless of thoughts sweet corn might evoke, there is one thing that most of us can agree on. It is delicious…And guess what- It is in season right now!

The other day I was in the supermarket (Yes- I do shop places other than the farmers market,) to grab some bananas for the kids. I happened to take a peek at the corn. I actually made an audible “ugh” sound. It looked so sad.

The husks were discolored and limp- the kernels peeking out from the sorry wrapping were over ripe. I didn’t buy it- despite actually feeling sorry for it.

Lucky for us, the gardens and fields are yielding ripe corn…the money corn so to speak.

If you are a cornstalk owner or a resident of Thunder Bay in the vicinity of a farm or a farmers market- you are fortunate to have access to it.  The taste of fresh corn in unmatched by anything frozen, in a can or a sad display at the store! I remember driving out to a market with my mom when I was young, just to get corn.

I hated driving “All the way out there” just to get corn. Well- it was actually only a 5 minute drive, but it felt to me like a waste a time just to get “dumb ol’ corn.”  The thing is- it is not a waste of time- that delicious, sweet taste is worth driving a lot more than 5 minutes for!

Now, as a kid we only had corn prepared husked and boiled until the colour brightened, served with a pat of butter, and a sprinkle of salt. Definitely one of the best ways to eat it - But, I am going to share a few of my other favorites with you as well. Grilled!

…but there are 2 schools of thought when it comes to this- Husks on or off?

The first way to cook corn on the grill is to carefully pull back the husk- remove the corn silk, fold the husk back over the corn, and soak it for 20 minutes in water- then remove a long thin strip of husk and tie the end  to keep it closed. Put this on the grill and let the corn steam inside of the husk.

Lately, I have been removing the husks- applying the thinnest layer of olive oil and throwing them directly over high heat- this way you get those beautiful grill marks, and the nice smoky flavour from the grill. The high heat really works some magic on the sugar in the corn- It will start to caramelize, and add amazing depth to the flavor of the corn.

Now, if you are looking to do something different than eating corn off of the cob, this is a wonderful recipe to try out.


I have made them with yams in the mix, and even pickerel for half corn/half fish cakes. They are quick, easy and most everyone will love them- they’re fried for goodness sake!

Corn Cakes

2 ears of corn/ de-eared
1 small yam peeled, grated, and cooked.
2 eggs
1/3 cup of milk
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar
S and P

Mix it all up in a bowl!

Heat 2/3 cup of olive oil in a pan.

When the oil is hot, drop 1/4 cup of the batter into the oil.  Do a few of these, depending on your pan size, but don’t overcrowd.

When they are nice and browned on the bottom, flip and cook the other side until cooked through- Put the fritters on a cooling rack on a cooking sheet to drain, and then into a warm oven, while you cook the rest of the cakes.

You can add some cooked fish to the mix for lovely fish/corn cakes- you imagination is the limit- You can serve these as a side dish, with dipping sauce as an appetizer, or on their own. I like to make them with a saffron sauce.

What is your favourite way to eat corn?

(originally published 9/2/2011 on TB Newswatch) 

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