Getting the Most Out of Locally-Grown Corn
Click here to watch Chef Chaz prepare Sweet Corn Cakes with Tomato Coulis.
Savoring locally grown corn, oozing with butter and sprinkled with salt, is a rite of summer. The gettin' is good through September for native corn, which arrives at Stew Leonard's the day it is picked from a family-owned farm in New York's Hudson Valley.
To pick the perfect ear, Al Simon, Stew Leonard's Director of Fresh Products in the Newington store, offers these tips:
- Buy corn the day you are going to eat it. If that is not possible, corn will keep fresh for 1 to 2 days if stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator with the husks left on.
- Purchase locally grown corn for the freshest corn possible.
- Look for fresh green husks, and select ears that feel plump, have tight-fitting husks and moist silk at the ends.
- Please don't shuck the corn! While it is less of a mess to shuck the corn at the store, as soon as the kernels are exposed to air, the sugars begin to break down and turn to starch. Keep the husk on until you are ready to cook it.
One of our favorite ways to eat corn is to grill it. Just place the ear of corn, in the husk, directly on a hot grill. Turn it occasionally until the outer husk has become charred, about 10 to 15 minutes (or longer depending on the size of the ear.) Take it off the grill and carefully husk it. Then slather it with herb butter (see recipe below), and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. The corn will have a nice roasted flavor and a great crunch.
Our chefs often get asked what to do with the leftover cooked corn they have. Chef Chaz Fable suggests whipping up these sweet corn cakes that can be enjoyed as a summer side dish. To cut the whole kernels from the cob, Chef Chaz stands the ear of corn upright on a cutting board and with a chef’s knife, slices the kernels off just beneath the rows.
Recipes for the grilled corn and corn cakes are below, and you can watch Chef Chaz whip up a batch of the corn cakes by clicking on the above link.
Sweet Corn Cakes with Plum Tomato Coulis
From Stew Leonard's Winning Recipes Cookbook
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ small jalapeño chile, seeded and minced, to taste
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups buttermilk
¼ cup melted butter, cooled slightly
1 large egg
1 cup fresh corn kernels (can use frozen as a substitute—thawed)
To make the tomato coulis: Using a knife, score the bottom of each tomato with an "X." Blanch the tomatoes by first placing them in boiling water for 30 seconds and then shocking them in an ice water bath for a couple of seconds. Peel the skins off the tomatoes. In a medium bowl, toss together the peeled tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, oil, and sugar. Set aside.
To make the corn cakes: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, and egg. Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until lumpy. Fold in the corn kernels, stirring just until blended. Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat. Pour in the batter by 2 tablespoonfuls for each pancake onto the skillet. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the underside is golden and bubbles break on top. Turn and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until the underside is golden.
To serve, place 3 pancakes on each plate and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the tomato coulis
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Herb Butter
From Stew Leonard's You Can Do It! Cookbook
8 tablespoons butter, not too chilled
Juice of ½ a lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 ears fresh corn, shucked
In a bowl, combine the butter and lemon juice. Place it on wax paper and, using your hands, roll the butter into a cylinder. Refrigerate until used. Place the corn, with husk, over the barbecue grate. Cook, turning often, for about 10 minutes, or until it is lightly charred all over. Serve with slices of the herb butter.
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