Sweet Corn Recipes for Summer
Corn is one of the premier vegetables of summer all across the United States. Long hot Southern summers produce delicious corn, but some of the best I ever had in entire my life was from New Jersey! The farmer had a stand on the side of the road in front of his cornfield. He would ask how many ears you wanted, and march back into the green, rustling stalks to pick your order. Freshness is important, since the moment it’s picked, the sugars begin converting into starch.
How to Pick Corn
My grandfather always preferred to plant his corn in the fruitful black soil at the river’s edge. He taught me that when it is ripe and ready to be picked, the silk at the top of the ear should be dark brown, almost black. It is not unusual to see people peeling back the husks in search of ears with perfect rows of kernels. The truth is, perfect rows of kernels don’t really matter all that much. Just take a peek to make sure the ear is plump, full, and free of worms, but keep the husk on to keep the ear moist and sweet.
The silks play a role in corn biology. Did you know that each strand of silk on an ear of corn represents a kernel of corn — but only if pollen falls on the silk! Otherwise, a kernel does not develop. A corn plant produces silk surrounding each ear about two months after the plant emerges from the ground. Tassels, the male part of the plant, emerge at its top and shed pollen for a week or two, fertilizing the individual silk strands below. Pollination occurs when the falling or wind-borne pollen grains are caught by these new moist silk strands. A captured pollen grain takes about 24 hours to move down the silk to the ovule, where fertilization occurs. The fertilized ovule then develops into a kernel.
How to Cut off the Cob
Bon Appétit, Y’all!
Grilled Corn Tabouleh
- 6 ears corn shucked and silks removed
- 1/4 jalapeno very finely chopped, or to taste
- 1 clove garlic grated on a microplane or very finely chopped
- 1/2 cup freshly picked flat leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped mint
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1/4 lemon
- Fleur de sel or best quality sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat a grill pan to very high heat. Add the corn and cook until tender and lightly charred on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the corn from the cob and transfer to a bowl. Add the jalapeno, garlic, parsley, mint, pepper, coriander, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
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