Sweet corn is like nature's snack food. A little salt and a little heat and you've got yourself a finger food as addictive as Pringles.
Grilled properly with a bit of butter, the stuff will even make you forget that hot dogs are on the grill, too. The kernels pop when bitten, the sweetness mixing with the hot butter and running down your fingers. Throw in some chili powder and lime juice, and you're ready to start selling your grilled corn at the state fair next month in Sedalia.
I like to buy corn the same day I'm going to use it. Otherwise, I'll buy it the day before and keep it in the plastic vegetable bag with the husks still intact. When picking corn -- in the grocery store or at the farmers market, not the fields -- I look for husks that are green and not dried out. Corn should be stored in a cool, dry place, so always take the corn that's in the shade at a farmer's market.
The husk should cover the ear entirely but not hang too loosely, like your T-shirt after putting on some winter weight. Peel back the husk at the top and peek at the kernels. Big, tight rows of kernels are a good sign. You can also pierce a kernel with your fingernail. A milky white substance will leak out if the corn is fresh.
I then grill the corn with the husk on after removing the corn silk underneath the husk. Once the kernels have begun to firm, I usually peel off the husks and finish the corn on the grill to give the kernels a bit of char. After that, it's ready to be devoured with a bit of parmesan cheese, lime, salt and butter; or cut off the cob and add the corn to a fresh salsa of black beans, heirloom tomatoes, lime and cilantro.
Corn chowder should also be on the table, as long as you're dining in the comfort of an air-conditioned dining room. Cream-based soups in this heat are a tough sell at the picnic table. Chef Jasper White's recipe, brings together slab bacon, sweet corn and Yukon gold potatoes, is a delicious bowl of food.
Perhaps one of the tastiest ways to meet your recommended daily intake of vegetables comes courtesy of Glace. Sweet corn ice cream is a regular menu item at Christopher Elbow's shop that opened earlier this year in Waldo.
[Image via Flickr: The Marmot]