Tag Archives: fresh corn

Corn Star: A One Ingredient Summer Fantasy

We’re hanging on to summer here, even if it was the weirdest summer ever, with the haziest boundary on either end. We’re not sure when it started but it is definitely ending. I know this because it is corn season.

Cooking inspiration has been lacking in this household, thanks to the general laziness that goes along with hot days. For a recipe to get me back in the game and try something new it has to be really good or really weird. When it is both…Hallefreakinlujah!

First, some context on why this recipe is so perfect right now. I mentioned corn season, and my people take it very seriously. More nights than not, we’re having fresh corn. Our compost pile, with its layers of corn husks and watermelon rinds, pretty much tells the story. That means we have plenty of opportunity for corn experimentation.

This recipe came via Sister A, purveyor of all things Vegan, who knows I appreciate weirdness. It is a little bit of food magic and alchemy that turns corn first into milk and then into butter. Basically, you’re cutting corn off the cob, pulverizing it, straining it,  then cooking the resulting “corn milk” for just a few minutes until it thickens up into creamy deliciousness.

The result is a summer fantasy—the essence of fresh corn in a luscious spread. It does not taste like butter, but it looks like it, spreads like silk and is simply delish.  It has the added bonus of being Vegan, which you can either use as a selling point or keep to yourself. 

Slacker note: Now that I’m on to it, I’ve read versions of this recipe using canned corn, and that don’t even call for straining the corn. I will likely try that come November when fresh corn is a distant memory. But for now, I’m sticking with this version, which is a bit labor intensive but sublime.

If corn on the cob is your jive, there’s no shame in that. But if you’re looking for other ways to enjoy the bounty of the season, I highly suggest giving this a whirl. It pairs well with zucchini “butter,” another brilliant recipe that will use up the August veggie filling your fridge.  

Sweet Corn Butter

From Whitney Wright via Food52

Ingredients

  • 8 ears fresh sweet corn (or less), shucked
  • Salt and butter, to taste (optional)

Method

  1. Cut off kernels: Use a chef’s knife to cut the kernels from each ear. 8 ears of corn will yield 4 to 5 cups of kernels (I got way more). If you’re a go-getter, you can also scrape the back of your knife along the cob to get the juice.
  2. Blend: Put the kernels in a blender or food processor and buzz them up like crazy—let the blender run on the highest speed for about 2 minutes. Once the kernels are blended into a smooth puree, pass the puree through a strainer with a rubber spatula. Ta-da! Corn juice.
  3. Whisk and cook: Here’s where the magic happens. Pour the juice into a medium saucepan. Heat the juice over medium heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking until the mixture begins to thicken and the frothy bubbles begin to disappear, about 4 minutes. When the mixture is thick and bubbling, whisk and cook for about 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat.
  4. Season (optional): Taste it—and look for sweet, smooth, earthy, and buttery. If you want, add a few pinches of salt and pats of butter (defeats the purpose of this exercise I’m thinking, but do what you must). The corn butter will keep for about 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

How do you use it? The original author, a fancy pants chef, suggests these ways, to which I added:

  • Slather onto cornbread, a muffin, toast or fresh bread instead of butter
  • Use it on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise
  • Put it in quesadillas or omelets
  • Fold it into sautéed spinach with onions, and finish with just a touch of cream for killer creamed spinach
  • Dribble it onto a hot dog for a DIY corn dog
  • Stir it into risotto and finish with Parmesan
  • Blend it with vanilla ice cream for a crazy delicious milkshake
  • Top tacos or fajitas with it. Or…pizza anyone???
  • Mix it with shredded cheese, a little sour cream, and a jar of drained jalapeños, bake and serve as a LIFE ALTERING (and so not Vegan) dip for tortilla chips
  • Layer it on zucchini or tomato anything

Pure buttahhhh

 

Colorado Summer Corn Souper Chowder

Fresh corn and peppers in their raw, pretty state. What happens later is tasty but not so pretty.

Fresh corn and peppers in their raw, pretty state. What happens later is tasty but not so pretty.

Cowgirl and cook Tania Coffey is back on the cooking range, this time helping us figure out more ways to enjoy summers sweetest fresh corn. This recipe is adapted from a vegetarian version created by Aaron Bennett, a chef at the Aspen Ritz Carlton. It was created as an appetizer to showcase Colorado’s produce, in particular Olathe corn.

Tania says: “This soup is so much of a pain to make that after many efforts we decided to grill a chicken breast, shred it, toss it in with the soup, rename it chowder and not cook another thing for dinner.  That said, it is so good that in August we make it over and over until we are sick of it and can wait another year for fresh corn.”

So there’s your motivation. Armed with Tania’s disclaimer I made this soup, with my own set of preconditions. First, I only had four ears of corn so I had to cut it in thirds which challenged my math skills. Second, in New England my pepper selection is limited, so I had to go with jalapenos and a couple of canned chipotles in adobo. (Update: as anticipated, Tania politely points out in first comment below that cans have no place in this recipe. So let’s all just pretend I never used those chipotles). Third, I had no chicken, so I reverted to a soup more like the original. The good news is that you now have our guarantee that it is delicious with or without chicken.

Before you embark, I will soften the prep warning a bit by summing up the procedure. You are cutting fresh corn off the cob, and boiling the cobs in milk and broth. You are roasting corn kernels in the oven. You are sautéeing diced onions and peppers in butter. Then you are throwing it all together and pureeing part of it. When it’s done it is really truly NOT pretty. But as Tania notes, “it is incredible when the corn is sweet.” So let’s get over appearances shall we?

You will need two big stock pots and a hearty blender (or an immersion blender along with the good sense to keep it deep in the pot while blending).

Colorado Summer Corn Chowder

Adapted from chef Aaron Bennett via Tania Coffey

Makes: A lot; 10-12 servings at least, or more if it’s eaten by the mug vs the bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ears fresh sweet corn
  • 1 1/2 sweet onion diced
  • 3 poblano peppers diced (If you can find roasted poblanos use them for a totally different— and fabulous—taste).
  • 3 jalapeños ribs and seeds removed minced
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 T garlic minced
  • 4T butter
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb chicken breast grilled and shredded with 2 forks.

Method:

Seatbelts on. Preheat oven to 350
Preheat grill for chicken (or bake chicken with corn)

Peel corn. Cut kernels from cobs.  Save cobs.
Put cobs in one stock pot with chicken stock and milk and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Grill the chicken breast.  Don’t over cook it as it is going in the hot soup.  Remember, this step makes the soup a meal but is not mandatory!  The chicken is added after the soup is completely made so you can live dangerously and decide then.

Toss corn kernels with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Put kernels on baking sheet and roast for 15-25 minutes until lightly browned. (You’ll need at least two baking sheets if making the full recipe).

In an 8 quart stock pot melt butter and add all peppers, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat stirring often until onion is translucent but not browned.  Add roasted corn and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove cobs from stock and discard.

Pour broth over peppers and corn.  Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend 3/4 of the soup in batches in a powerful blender until smooth.  The remaining 1/4 stays lumpy for texture.  Season with salt and pepper. Add shredded chicken.

Told you it wasn't pretty. Not that you would judge on looks.

Told you it wasn’t pretty. Not that you would judge on looks.

This is how corn takes a bath.

This is how corn takes a bath.