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Corn off the cob. September 15, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes.
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Silence Dogood here. As fresh-corn season draws to its close (sob!), you may be experiencing corn-on-the-cob fatigue. I myself could eat fresh ‘Silver Queen’ corn until the end of time, but I do have a problem with corn on the cob: the mess. It seems that every time I pick up a luscious, dripping, buttery, hot, salty ear of corn, part of that melted butter ends up on my shirt.

Eeeewww!!! Try as I might, I have to wash the poor tee-shirt or blouse or whatever multiple times to get the grease out, and of course, meanwhile I can’t wear it. Talk about aggravating!

So I often make corn off the cob. Yes, it’s every bit as drippy-delicious as corn on the cob, but somehow it doesn’t get all over my clothes. Maybe that’s because our friend Ben and I like to eat it over rice, which nicely absorbs the drippings. Or maybe it’s because you can pick up the plate and hold it under your chin while eating, as a shield. (Trust me, I’ve tried eating corn on the cob while wearing an apron over my clothes, and the butter went through the apron as well as my shirt. Grrrr!!!)

The simplest version of corn off the cob is simply to melt butter in a heavy saucepan, cut the kernels off the cobs, and saute just until the kernels are heated through—a matter of a few minutes—then season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Next simplest is to saute a diced sweet onion (such as Vidalia or WallaWalla) in the butter, and when the onion clarifies, add the corn kernels and proceed as above.

Both of these are delicious, but for whatever reason, once I get the kernels off the cob, I like to go further. Sometimes I’ll saute the onion and sliced mushrooms in butter, then add diced yellow or orange bell pepper, and finish with the corn. Along with the salt and pepper, I’ll often add fresh basil, cilantro, or a mix of dried oregano, thyme, and basil.

Another, heartier option, which, served with rice or pasta makes a meal in itself (accompanied, of course, by a yummy salad and/or broccoli or asparagus) is the version I made last night. I used extra-virgin olive oil as the base, sauteed a large diced sweet onion, then added two medium diced yellow bell peppers from our garden, a can of red kidney beans, a can of black beans, and finally the corn on the cob. I tossed in the salt, pepper, and dried herb mix, and the minute the corn was heated through, served it up over rice with a big side salad. Yum!!! And it all was so easy to make.

Don’t forget that there are plenty of other ways to use fresh corn off the cob. You can add the fresh kernels to cornbread or corn muffins. You can fold them into corn pudding, a down-home name for a lovely, delicious, souffle-like dish. You can make succotash with fresh lima beans (I like the big limas, called butterbeans in my native Nashville) and diced sweet onion. You can mix any of the corn sautee variations I list above with rice and use them as a stuffed pepper filling. And you can make luscious creamed corn soup, or add the corn to almost any soup, or make corn fritters, or corn relish, or corn salsa, or…

Okay, point made. Mess dealt with. Corn still enjoyed. Go for it!

‘Til next time,




1. Huma - September 16, 2013

The corn season just started here and you see multiple carts all over the city carrying hot sand, unhusked corn embedded in the sand. They take it out peel the husk, put some lime and spices on it and hand it to you to be eaten as you do your other shopping. The corn is harder than the sweet one in the US but very very good also.

Sounds good, but, er, no butter?!

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