Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Sweet Corn Love
Well, it's finally that time of year. We're getting in cases upon cases of the finest sweet corn central PA can provide us with. On the restaurant side this means, that corn is making it into our corn and lobster fritters, provides a base for our Sockeye Salmon and makes up a really great black bean salad with cilantro, heirloom tomato and lime. This salad is the base for our crispy skinned rockfish which gets a final drizzle of light chimichurri sauce. On the dessert side,(yes, corn for dessert) our pre-dessert is a smooth corn custard topped with blackberries and garden mint.
I had a revelation about corn at home tuesday night.(yes, I eat things other than Pop Tarts and Tastycakes at home) Ever since I was a kid, I always slathered my corn with butter. I can even remember watching a scene from the movie 'War Games' where the family is eating corn on the cob and they're buttering it with butter that was spread on a piece of bread. I remember thinking that was the coolest idea in the world because not only did you get 'full frontal' butter coverage for your corn, but you had a sopping, butter soaked, slightly corn flavored piece of bread to stuff in your mouth. Genius. So the eating evolution continued with trying out fleur de sel or smoked sea salt, but butter was always a constant. Before I go any further you need to know this....I LOVE BUTTER....... First off, PLEASE TRY THIS AT HOME. Cook some corn on the cob. Once you drain the hot water off the corn, allow it to steam for a minute or two and cool down a bit. Now, take a bottle of nice extra virgin olive oil. Nothing too sexy, just a good olive oil. Drizzle it over the corn, making sure to make contact with the whole ear, but not drowning the corn in oil. Next season with kosher salt(I prefer Diamond Crystal). Next, eat the damn thing. Here's what you're going to find. Your corn will taste 'cornier'. I bit into the first ear I seasoned this way and was absolutely put on my ass(well, that could have been the bottle of white burgundy, thanks Rich) Anyhow, this was an amazing piece of corn and the next one after it was just as good. Here's why....as much as I like butter and believe me, I do, fats tend to mute natural flavors, especially vibrant vegetable flavors. So, while olive oil is certainly still a fat, it's doesn't coat the natural flavor of corn like butter does. Don't get me wrong....when you have average corn or some frozen corn you've put up for the winter a knob of butter in your corn saute is a righteous thing. BUT, when you have the luxury of eating crazy fresh corn then I think you should let the corn flavor be Bret Michaels, the salt be C.C.DeVille and the olive oil be Rikki Rocket. An interesting aside here....did you know that Poison passed on Slash to be their guitarist in favor of C.C. DeVille? Do you think Thomas Keller and Marco Pierre White dig Poison? Anyhow, get your ass to the farm market, buy some corn and try this out. I think you'll really enjoy the results.