Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cool as Corn

Summer is fast upon us here in the north east, and my jones-ing for summer vegetables has begun. It’s an odd spot to be in, when it’s 90 degrees outside but the only vegetables up are radishes, some spring onions and asparagus. I got so antsy in fact to pick the radishes growing in my tiny raised beds that I may have picked one prematurely.

To give perspective, Joe's pinky finger is closest to the radish and mine is next to his - to give perspective on his giant fingers.
But no matter, the grocery stores have some flown in corn from Florida to tide us over at this years’ BBQs, as long as you can swallow the food guilt associated with non-local produce. Growing up, we only ever got corn in August and to be honest I didn’t realize eating corn on the cob throughout the rest of the year was even an option. New Jersey isn’t a state well known for its produce, even if it is called the Garden State - but let me tell you, we take our corn and tomatoes very seriously. The variety of corn we would get at the Jersey shore was Silver Queen, which was a white sweet corn that apparently grows very well in NJ soil. This was when at the Jersey shore you could get fresh produce from the bicycle rental place. It wasn’t only about “gym, tan, laundry” then.
Typically we would eat the corn boiled on the cob, drenched in butter and salt. But perhaps dripping butter down your arms is not the most polite or calorie friendly way to eat corn.
A few years ago I found a recipe in Cooking Light for a corn relish that seemed easy enough without any indoor cooking required. When I made it, we instantly fell in love with the combination. I have found that this dish is also one of those “oooooo”-inspiring salads to bring to potlucks or picnics. It seems exotic, yet is pretty pleasing to most people. I brought it to an ‘end of the rowing season’ BBQ for seniors this year at the request of Joe (hence why it is in tuperware below) and it went over pretty well. Not only is this salad a crowd pleaser, but it is so easy to make, it’s almost shameful. But take no shame! This is a delicious and healthy recipe that should be enjoyed and shared.
Roasted Corn Relish
As adapted from Cynthia Nims, Cooking Light, JUNE 2007

My Mom has made this recipe with frozen corn and said it was just as good. Personally I like the carmelization the corn takes on once it is roasted. If you are desperate to make this and weather does not permit outdoor grilling, remove the corn from the husks and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. If Anaheim chiles aren’t available, you can use Poblanos. I prefer the larger more mild peppers for this, so the heat doesn’t overpower the rest of the vegetables. Serve this salad a little warm for an interesting twist, but it also keeps very well in the refrigerator

2 Anaheim chiles (also called Italian peppers in the North East)
4 ears of corn
1 cup diced tomato
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice from 3 limes (about ¼ cup)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pull the corn silks from the husks and remove and loose or brown leaves from the husk, but leave the husks on the corn. Heat your grill to a high heat (if you are using gas, medium-high). Place the corn on the grill but not over top of the heat source. The husks will blacken, but that is okay. Depending on the sweetness of the corn you may need to adjust roasting time - 10-15 minutes for very sweet corn or longer. (You can also grill the corn out of the husks for a shorter period of time, but be sure to use very ripe corn for that)

While the corn is roasting, place the whole Anaheim chiles onto the grill. Again, you want the skins to blacken so you can peel them off.

Once the corn and chiles are cooked, remove them from the grill and allow to cool before handling. Cut the corn off the cob into a bowl or large serving dish. Pull the seeds and stem out of the chiles, peel off any loosened skins, and dice the peppers. Toss the peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro with the corn. Add fresh squeezed lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Add more lime juice or cilantro as desired.

Serve immediately, while corn and peppers are slightly warm, or cover and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who was oohing and ahhing, I'm glad to have this recipe! Thanks!


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