Suzi's Blog

Caramelized Corn

2013_09_22_1819

 

It’s early October. Very early. October 1. In the supermarkets and at farm stands and farmers markets, there is corn aplenty. Oh, the government is shut down today, but eating goes on.

Corn is a basic food that can be employed in a myriad of ways. Sometimes, simple is the best.

With ears fresh from the farmers market, Suzen gave me the standard order: “Husk.”

“Why don’t you ever do this?” I asked.

“It’s a guy thing. You know that,” came the response.

It’s not a guy thing. It’s a messy thing. So, I did it. Of course, I cheated. I’ve written here about how to easily cook corn in the husk and then get the corn out: 2 ears for 4 minutes in the microwave with the husk on, take them out, cut off the stock end, hold them upright by the tassel, and shake until the corn slides out. You are left holding the intact husk with no mess.

I did not microwave for 4 minutes here, because the corn was headed for a skillet. But I did do the ears, 2 at a time, in the microwave for 2 minutes and then easily removed the husk. All intact. No corn silk floating in the air and landing all over the kitchen. Suzen was happy. The cats, however, were disappointed.

This is one of those “you can do it your way” recipes. It calls for shallots and you can add more or less. Or use onions. Add some garlic. Use the thyme or not. Add another herb. A pinch of sugar? I’m sure that’s a typo. A few tablespoons of brown sugar would not hurt at all.

The husk may be long gone, but I would say the flavor here is “husky.” Suzen ignored my pleas for more sugar, so this dish is not unduly sweet. Yes, the corn is “caramelized” but those natural sugars have a distinctive almost earthy flavor. “White” is not how I would describe this dish. “Delicious” is.

You can buy a lot corn, scale this recipe up, and then have the corn for leftovers for a few days. Warmed corn, again in the microwave, and a burger is a pretty good meal. French fries? No, try caramelized corn.

This recipe is from a great cookbook, I Love Corn, by Lisa Skye. I happen to love single theme cookbooks. If I have corn, how can I use it? I don’t want just the 10+ ideas or so in a standard cookbook, I want a lot of ideas with imaginative variation from appetizers to dessert. You can find I Love Corn on Amazon for the bargain price of $8. That’s a steal.

Yes. Dessert. Corn ice cream.

Caramelized Corn with Shallots

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 ears fresh corn, kernels removed [about 3 cups]
  • 4 large shallots, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • Pinch of granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus 1 large sprig from garnishing if you wish

 

Preparation:

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the corn, shallots, sugar and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the corn is caramelized, about 5 minutes

Stir in the thyme and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, Garnish with the sprig of thyme if you desire.

Source: I Love Corn

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 18-55MM Macro lens, F/2.8 for 1/100 sec at ISO 1000

 

 

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Caramelized Corn with Shallots from I Love Corn

Summer heat and the drought have taken their toll on our farmers and our food supply. Still, there are options to savor the best of summer: fresh corn. To help you really enjoy corn, take a look at I Love Corn by Lisa Skye [published by Andrews McMeel].

Lisa has gathered sixty recipes from great chefs and cookbook authors from around the country to give us chapters on:

  • Breakfast [Sweet Corn Waffles, Jalapeno Corn Muffins, …]
  • Soups [Sweet Corn Soup, Fresh Corn Gazpacho, …]
  • Starters [Corn Ceviche, Roasted Corn Wontons, …]
  • Mains [Venison with Corn Cocoa and Chipotle Relish, Corn-Poached Halibut, …]
  • Sides [Corn Pudding with Bacon and Leeks, Warm Corn Soufflés, …]
  • Sweets [Cornmeal Cake with Honey and Bananas, Strawberry Corn Pone, …]

From the time you rise until you take that last snack, you can enjoy corn. I’m a big fan of corn side dishes which can provide so much contrast and interest to a meal. And, when I see a recipe that says “caramelized” then I perk up.

I made this caramelized corn with a couple of changes. I did not have shallots, so red onions were a fine substitute. And since “caramelized” implies sweetness, I wanted some heat. So I tossed in a diced poblano with the seeds.

To serve this dish, I used the corn husks arranged in a layer on the plate. It is beautiful to see, to photograph, and to devour.

You can obviously scale this recipe up and I suggest you do. Because the next day you can:

  • Perk it up with lime juice
  • Convert the leftovers into a salsa using some tomato products
  • Sparkle up your scrambled eggs for breakfast

In short, great recipe from a fine book.

Caramelized Corn with Shallots

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 ears fresh corn, kernels removed, about 3 cups
  • 4 large shallots cut into ½-inch slices
  • Pinch of granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves plus 1 large sprig for garnish

Preparation:

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the corn, shallots, sugar, and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the corn is caramelized, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the thyme and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, garnish with the sprig of thyme