August always makes me think of corn. Long Island and the Northeast coast abound with farm stands selling sweet corn, one of the most popular vegetables of the summer. Corn loses its natural sweetness with every minute after it’s been picked, so freshness is key for the best corn-on-the-cob. Look for fresh, bright, moist cut ends and plump, full kernels with you buy sweet corn. Store it loosely wrapped in plastic in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. The sooner you use it, the sweeter it will be, so don’t put it in the fridge and forget about it for a week – a tendency I have at times! Most of us eat the freshly boiled corn, slathered in butter, sprinkled with salt, and right off the cob, however there are many other uses. Salads, breads and muffins, fritters and salsas are just some of them. I like to eat leftover boiled corn cold, either right off the cob or in salads. Here are some easy ways I’ve used to enjoy this delicious summer vegetable. Fresh Cold Corn Soup 8 cups of corn kernels (cut from 10 to 14 ears) 6 cups of water 1 Tb. kosher or coarse sea salt 1/4 cup of chopped fresh chives or minced cucumber Crème fraîche or sour cream Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and simmer the corn, covered, for 20 minutes, or until very tender. Purée the soup in batches in a blender until very smooth. As each batch is puréed, pour through a coarse sieve into a metal bowl. Chill it by setting bowl of soup in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stirring. If soup is too thick, thin with water. Refrigerate if not using right away. Serve sprinkled with chives or cucumber and a dollop of cream. Makes 6 servings. Sweet Corncakes with Pesto 3 ears of fresh corn 2 large eggs 1-1/2 Tb. of all-purpose flour Pinch each of sugar, cumin and salt Sun-dried tomato pesto, basil pesto, sour cream or yogurt Boil the corn in the usual manner and cool in cold water. Once cool, scrape the kernels off the cob and place in a food processor. Add the eggs and flour and process in short pulses until the mixture is course in texture and even in color. Stir in the sugar, cumin and salt to taste. Lightly grease a griddle or heavy non-stick pan with olive oil and heat until a bit of batter dropped in bubbles. Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan for each corncake and cook as you would a
pancake – waiting for the top to bubble and the bottom to be evenly browned before flipping over. Transfer cakes to plate and cover with foil to keep warm until all the batter is used up. Serve the corncakes with your favorite pesto, the sour cream or yogurt or both! Makes 8 cakes. Corn Relish 6 ears of corn, raw 1+ green pepper, diced 1+ red pepper, diced 2 onions (or less), minced 1-1/3 Tb. of dry mustard 1/3 tsp. of turmeric 1/3 cup of honey ½ cup of vinegar Scrape the corn kernels off the cobs into a bowl and mix with the peppers and onions (I use more peppers and a lot less onion). Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan, add the corn mixture and simmer slowly for 6-8 minutes. Cover and chill until cold and serve. Makes 6 servings.