Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

How to prepare summer corn

PARADE

A few weeks ago, Pete Wells, the restaurant critic for The New York Times, sent out a hilarious tweet about people peeling back the husks of corn before paying for them at the farmers’ market. 

Wells said he couldn’t imagine himself working at a farmers’ market because he would “want to do physical harm to the people who shuck corn they haven’t bought yet.”

What do people think they are going to find? Will they not pay for an ear of corn if the rows of kernels aren’t perfectly straight?

As summer marches on, corn is one of the edible pleasures of the season. Summer corn is in abundance right now and can be used in many dishes or simply eaten on the cob. When corn is harvested, the natural sugars start to turn to starch. You want to get the corn at its freshest to retain the milky juices in the kernels. This is why it is such a treat if you can find a farm stand where the corn has been harvested that morning. The corn flavor is so rich and flavorful that the ears of corn need no added ingredients.

We like to cook our corn on the grill. You can place corn on the grill over indirect heat with the husks intact or pulled back. The corn in the husks will take about twice the time to cook at about 25 minutes. You can also peel and remove the husks and wrap the ears of corn in some aluminum foil. One of the advantages of grilling the corn in their husks is that when it comes off the grill, and cools enough to shuck, it’s easier to remove the silky hairs from the warm ears of corn.

Summer corn can be a part of a barbecue, or a clam bake on the beach, eaten on the cob with a little salt and a pat of butter. You can also add fresh herbs (like chives or basil) to room-temperature butter, and rub it on the corn for a twist in taste.

This corn and peach salad from Better Homes and Gardens makes the most of summer corn and peaches with the juices of the fruit heightened in flavor from the sugars of the corn. Have some people in your crowd who don’t like radishes? Swap out the radishes for the crunch of red onion. This corn and peach salad is a refreshing no-cook summer dish. You can also bring out another side of the corn and peaches and grill them to caramelize the sugars and give the salad a smoky flavor. The fresh mint ties it all together.

Enjoy the harvest of corn this summer. Just remember not to shuck the corn in front of the farmer at the market. The farmers are providing the best of their crop. Trust them and relax while summer is still here.

Alice Knisley Matthias is a mom of two boys who love to trade weird-but-true facts. She writes about food, family, education and garden. She loves to cook and to grow fresh herbs, and believes in an organic lifestyle for her family in the kitchen and the garden. Her work has appeared in Eating Well, Highlights for Children, Boys’ Life, Chicken Soup for the Soul, What to Expect, Cook n’ Scribble and an America’s Test Kitchen Cook’s Country Cookbook. She is the author of herbinkitchen.com and a regular blogger for KIDS DISCOVER. Find Alice on Twitter: @AKnisleyMatth

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Alice Knisley Matthias
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