Suzi's Blog

Cooking Corn in the Microwave

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Here's a reminder from a past post here, a fast, easy way to cook corn and deal with all that mess from husking and watching the corn silk float about the room. You find silk strands in your kitchen for days, don't you? Or, if you shuck outside, you walk back into the house trailing silk. Who wants to shuck corn outside and then strip before reentering. My God, you'd think this was preventing the spread of ebola virus!

Instead, don't shuck. Put your whole ears of corn in the microwave, cook for 4 minutes an ear, remove the ears, and just cut off the bottom ends. Then you simply pick up each ear by the tassel end and the cooked corn slips right out of the husk. Okay, a vigorous shake or two may be needed, but that silk stays together while the corn lovingly slips away. No floating silk.

Suzen and I do this all the time now. Is there flavor impact? No. The corn is essentially steamed the same way it is when you grill corn with the husk on. There is no textural impact. The kernels are perfectly steamed, tender and show no hint of the "rubberiness" that happens when you microwave bread.

No silk, no way.

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/30th second at ISO‑1250

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Summer Zucchini and Corn Succotash

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Succotash is a Native American word for “broken corn kernels.” The Pilgrims were introduced to the dish and that first Thanksgiving almost certainly included some form of succotash. While it often is consider a “fall” dish, it really is a year-round treasure. You could even — this is heresy — use frozen corn. Suzen prefers fresh to defrosted, so we wait until the first corn arrives from Florida and we enjoy it until the very last harvest of the fall.

Beyond the corn, succotash is really a “what do I have on hand” recipe. Zucchini is a classic ingredient, but tomatoes and onions are welcome. In this version, peppers and zucchini abound. And fresh herbs.

This is a recipe Suzen uses for her culinary team building classes. It’s a perfect recipe for a small group of people — 3 to 6 — to cook together. There are lots of different ingredients. Lots of peeling and chopping. Each person can have their own individual task. And then there is the grand finale when all the ingredients — everyone’s efforts — are poured into one large bowl. In Suzen’s classes, we do make succotash for 20 or more guests. So, it’s a big bowl.

This dish is a side, a salad, even a main course if you want to go protein-free one evening. One thing is certain, when you first try succotash, you are intrigued and hooked. Leftover here are great. You can boost the flavor a day or so out with more vinegar or lemon juice. You could even incorporate some avocado for an authentic Pilgrim guacamole.

Don’t thank the Pilgrims. Thank the Indians.

 

Summer Zucchini and Corn Succotash

Yield: ~20 servings

Ingredients:

  • 12 ears of corn, shucked
  • ½ cup whole garlic
  • 1 cup vegetable stock [ideally homemade]
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 zucchini, peeled and diced into medium cubes
  • 2 yellow squash, medium diced
  • Olive oil as needed for sautéing
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped, plus ¼ cup more for garnish
  • 1 red bell pepper, medium diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation:

Clean the corn. Grill the ears to the point of having a slight char. Cool slightly, then remove the kernels from the ears. Allow to cool.

Sauté the garlic. When the garlic begins to brown, add just enough chicken stock to cover the garlic in the pan. Continue simmering until the garlic is soft. Almost all of the stock may have evaporated [but add more stock if necessary to keep the garlic from burning].

Add the red wine vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Mash the garlic to form a paste. Set aside.

Sauté the zucchini and yellow squash in olive oil with salt and pepper. Add the chopped thyme. When the squash is tender, remove from the heat. Add the chopped basil and parsley. Immediately remove from the pan and cool on a sheet pan.

Sauté the red pepper in olive oil. When tender, cool on a sheet pan.

When all the vegetables are cooked and cool, combine all the ingredients in one large bowl. This includes the chopped scallions. Adjust the seasonings as necessary. Garnish with the remaining ¼ cup chopped parsley.

 

Source: Staff at Cooking by the Book

Photo Information [top]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/50th second at ISO-1250

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