The ultimate quick guide to getting the most out of CSL’s pick of the season: fresh corn.
“One evening in 2006, I was walking around Cozumel, Mexico near the cruise terminals. There were tons of locals, mostly families walking about with various street foods in their hands from the vendors that had set up stalls. It was after dinner and I felt like a snack, and noticed most of the locals were holding cups of what looked like corn kernels. It turned out to be esquites — an intoxicating mix of butter, lime juice, chile powder, cheese, and mayonnaise. It remains one of my favourite street food experiences to this day.” – Shivana Maharaj
LET’S HAVE A FIESTA!
Boiled corn topped with a pat of sweet butter is a classic, but why not try something more exotic? Mexico is where it’s at! While esquites which comes from the Aztec word ízquitl (toasted corn), is a corn salad served in a cup, elote is grilled corn on the cob. Both are topped or combined with mayonnaise, lime juice, chile, and cheese.
How to Pick a healthy ear of corn
Look for a bright, shiny green husk that is tight to the cob and silk that is golden. Gently press to ensure kernels are firm and densely packed and look for a ‘fresh cut’ on the stem.
ADD CREAMINESS WITHOUT DAIRY
Even once you have removed all of the kernels, you will notice there are the starchy pockets left behind on the cob. Using your knife, scrape this ‘milk’ from the cob and add to a pot of water with aromatics, and a teaspoon of salt and boil for one hour to create a creamy vegetarian stock that can be added to soup, sauces or risotto sans cream.
How to Cob
Lay the husked cob flat on cutting board. Firmly hold the cob and use a sharp knife to cut straight down, releasing kernels and creating one flat side. Rotate corn and repeat until all of the kernels have been removed.
GRILL FOR SMOKY COMPLEXITY
There are two techniques to grilling: in the husk or directly on the grill for 15-20 minutes. If you grill in the husk, the result will lend a mild smoky flavour, without colouring kernels. Grilling directly will result in dark, toasted brown/black kernels that are perfect to add to a salad, or on the top of a creamy soup to add texture.
How to Buy and store:
Local is best, whether it is yellow, white or peaches and cream varieties. Peel back ears and look for turgid, kernels with glossy silk. Don’t keep for more than two days, and store any full ears in the fridge until ready to consume.
This original food article first appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.