Thursday, August 30, 2018

Corn on the Cob - and a Recipe for Tequila Lime Chilli Butter!

A much loved side dish with summer meals is good old fashioned corn on the cob. Farm fresh corn during the summer is very abundant and popular in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia where I live, but I know that there are many other areas also rich in this agricultural gold. No matter where one resides in North America, it always seems to be available fresh during the summer.

Whole corn on the cob should either be eaten on the day of purchase or stored in the refrigerator, as the natural sugars convert to starch faster in the presence of warm temperatures. Corn can be a very healthy part of a balanced diet as its dietary profile includes vitamin B1, folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C, phosphorus, and manganese. Everything however should be consumed in moderation, including the amount of butter and salt that is applied to the finished product. Fresh cracked pepper is one of my favourite toppings (along with the butter and salt) and is a great way to add tons of flavour. Let your creativity run wild in the kitchen and discover what else you can top your corn on the cob with. The internet and local libraries are full of great recipe ideas.

If grilling your corn on the cob instead of boiling it, try it over lump charcoal – the taste difference is amazing. I simply pull off the husks and place the cobs directly on the grill, while rotating them
occasionally until mostly all the kernels are slightly charred.

The uses for fresh corn on the cob do not stop with just cooking whole. By standing the corn on end, carefully take a sharp knife and run it down the cob to remove the kernels. This will allow you to enjoy the fresh taste of corn in any recipe that calls for kernels of corn. One tip to catch the kernels efficiently is to use an angel food cake pan. With the cake pan sitting securely on a damp towel on the counter, stand the point of the cob of corn on the inner tube of the pan coming up the center. This will help to keep the cob steady and the falling removed kernels will collect in the cake pan.

We also eat fresh corn kernels in the raw form. It is so delicious on salads - try it. There have also been times when we have just eaten the raw corn right off the cob, plain and uncooked - with good, fresh, local corn, it's amazing.

One of the oddest conversations I have ever had about cooking corn on the cob was with an attendee of the Chilliwack Fair years ago. It went like this, without a word of a lie:
Man: "How long do you boil corn on the cob for?"
Chef Dez: "How long are you boiling it for now?"
Man: "Um, about 30 minutes."
Chef Dez: "What!? 30 minutes? I recommend 1 to 3 minutes at the very most. Why would you boil it that long?"
Man: "Well, it's pretty thick."
Chef Dez: "Yeah, but you're not going to eat the cob!"
I can't imagine what the corn would be like after 30 minutes of boiling. There must have been nothing left of the kernels. This conversation would surprise me in any situation, but to have it with a resident of Chilliwack (corn country), it was beyond bizarre.

Anyway, try this compound butter recipe for something different the next time you have cooked corn on the cob. It is one our favorites. Until next time... Happy Cooking!

Tequila Lime Chilli Butter

1 cup salted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp chilli powder
2 tbsp tequila
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp finely chopped lime zest

1. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer.
2. Mix at medium speed, gradually increasing to high speed until fully combined, stopping halfway to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Store at room temperature for a few days, or longer in the refrigerator. Spread on hot cooked corn and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Makes approximately 1 cup of compound butter

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