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Go For The Gold,,, SWEET CORN!
To much of the world, corn means merely “grain”. But to Americans, the word is one to conjure with, summoning images of an ephemeral summer treat. Famously knee-high by midsummer, sweet corn is harvested, the ears appearing in all their golden, silk-tasseled glory at produce stands across the country. Mowing down rows of kernels as you devour corn on the cob is a near-sacred seasonal ritual, but it is only the beginning of corn’s culinary clout. Removed from the cob, those same kernels become a prized resource for summer’s cooks. The yellow gems are a far different matter from the kernels sold in the supermarket’s frozen-food section.
Hand-sliced from the cob, in an easy process requiring only the simplest of tools, they carry the same deep flavor and pleasing textural mix – a skin that pops in your mouth and an interior that’s as silky smooth as custard – as when on the cob. Released from their stationary position, these kernels are free to be baked in pies, infused into liquids, sauteed with flavorful ingredients, or cooked in virtually any other manner you can imagine, bringing fresh corn’s matchless flavor along with them.
Fresh summer corn is something we look forward to every year! To those of you familiar with it only on the cob, fresh corn in its kernel state proves a surprisingly versatile ingredient. Suitable to a wide range of cooking methods, it also adapts easily to flavor footprints from around the world.
I love boiled corn on the cob but, since it needs to be made right before serving, it’s not ideal for a party (unless you like the idea of sweating over a hot stove indoors while your guests kick back outside sipping sangria). For a crowd, I love a fresh corn salad that I can make entirely ahead of time.
With crisp sweet corn, scallions, and basil in a tart white wine vinaigrette, this corn salad is not only make-ahead, it’s a delicious and refreshing change from the usual (and messy) corn on the cob slathered with butter. Summery and make-ahead, this Fresh Corn Salad with Scallions and Basil is tailor-made for a cookout.
“I have a love affair with tomatoes and corn. I remember them from my childhood. I only had them in summer. They were extraordinary.”
~ Alice Waters