There’s a particular thrill I get every week when I pick up my C.S.A. box at a pottery studio in Brooklyn. More intimate than the farmers’ market, it feels like a micro community of cooks all using the same ingredients but interpreting them in different ways. I love hearing everyone’s plans for that bounty of cabbage or zucchini or sweet peppers. The conversation is as much fun as getting the goods.
This week’s box was overflowing with sweet corn, juicy and fresh enough to eat raw, right off the cob.
Last summer, raw was the only way my 6-year old daughter, Dahlia, would eat corn. I’d cut kernels off the cob, giving some to her au naturel, and using the rest in a raw corn salad with lime juice, grated garlic, avocado and cilantro. Mark Bittman adds feta, mint, and tomatoes to his version and it looks killer. Serve it with some grilled steak, maybe with red peppers on ciabatta, for the best of all summer meals.
This summer, Dahlia is open to cooked corn, in part because I started making creamed corn. Who can resist corn simmered in heavy cream and nutmeg? Here’s how I do it: put fresh corn kernels in a pot with just enough cream to cover. Bring to a simmer with pinches of salt and nutmeg. Cook, mashing lightly with a fork, until the kernels are soft and the cream thickened, about 5 minutes. If the cream caramelizes at the bottom of the pot, stir it in; this is a good thing. But if heavy cream isn’t your thing, Martha Rose Shulman offers a creamless version that’s wonderfully buttery and a lot lighter.
One of my all-time favorite corn recipes is by David Tanis for corn blini with sautéed corn and crème fraîche. Add a little smoked salmon for a terrific brunch this weekend.
Or you could turn corn into your entree by stirring up a savory corn risotto enriched with corn stock.
And for dessert? Corn ice cream, topped with blackberry verbena sauce, or just eaten on its own. Great summer corn doesn’t need much to make it shine.
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