Every year I write a column touting the joys of the uber fresh, just picked, roadside variety of sweet corn vs the older than dirt, sitting in the cooler variety of fresh corn at the grocery store.
This year, however, I got a call from a friendly neighborhood grocery manager who very proudly told me that they are only selling fresh, locally picked corn this year. So I say, get your corn whereever its convenient and fresh.
The most important thing to remember when buying fresh corn on the cob is that corn starts converting sweet tasting sugars to starches immediately after it is picked. So ideally you should buy it, cook it and scarf it down the day it is picked or as close to then as possible.
When buying your corn, pick up each ear and look for those that feel full and heavy in your hand. Look at the silk threads sticking out of the top of the ears. These threads should be golden, pale, slightly sticky, and the more there are, the better. You also want the husks to have bright green color, not yellowish or brown. If the bottom of the ear is turning brown, skip it; its been picked more than three days prior to you contemplating buying it.
If youre not going to eat the corn the day its picked, store it in the refrigerator with the husks on.
Corn and Cheese Bake
3 ears of corn, kernels off
1 (11 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 (8.5 ounce) package dry corn bread mix
1 small onion, diced
1 red pepper diced
1 green pepper diced
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a large bowl combine the corn, cream-style corn, sour cream, eggs, dry corn bread mix, red and green peppers, onion and 1 cup of Cheddar cheese. Mix well and pour into the prepared dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let set for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6 to 8. Top will salsa if desired.
Couscous Corn and Chicken Salad
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
2 to 3 cups cooked couscous
2 to 3 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey (leftovers are great)
2 to 3 ears of corn kernels
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped (you can use the canned or jarred kind)
In a jar with a tight lid combine the olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt and hot sauce. Cover and shake to combine. In a bowl combine the couscous, chicken, onion, corn, celery and water chestnuts. Mix to combine. Pour the dressing over the top, mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Serves 6 or 8.
Black Bean and Corn Soup
1 cup half-and-half cream
2 cans (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup salsa
1 cup fresh corn (you can use frozen)
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
Sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese, optional
In a blender, combine the cream and 1 cup black beans; cover and process until smooth. Set the mixture aside. In a saute pan saute the onion in the oil just until its tender. Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the salsa, corn, lime juice, cumin and remaining beans. Mix to combine and then reduce the heat and stir in cream mixture. Cook, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is hot. Stir in the avocado, cook for 2 minutes and spoon into bowl. Top with sour cream and cheese if desired. Serves 4.