Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
Every year I write a column touting the joys of the über-fresh, just-picked, roadside variety of sweet corn versus the older-than-dirt, sitting-in-the-cooler variety of corn in some grocery stores. This year, however, I got a call from a friendly neighborhood grocery manager who very proudly told me that they are only selling, local, fresh-picked corn this year so I say, let the games begin! Get your corn wherever it’s convenient..and fresh.
The most important thing to remember when buying fresh corn on the cob is that corn starts converting sweet tasting sugars to starches immediately after it is picked. Sweet corn has an 80:20 sugar to starch ratio when it’s picked, but within 3 days that ratio flips to 20:80 sugar to starch. So ideally you should buy it, cook it and scarf it down that day, or as close to then as possible.
When buying your corn, pick up each ear and look for ones that feel full and heavy in your hand. Look at the silk threads sticking out of the top of the ears. These thread should be golden, pale, slightly sticky, and the more the there are the better. You also want the husks to have a bright green color, not yellowish or brown. If the bottom of the ear is turning brown, skip it; it’s been picked more than 3 days prior to you contemplating buying it.
If you’re not going to eat the corn the day it’s picked, store it in the refrigerator with the husks on and use these corn-cooking tips when you do cook it.
- Don’t add salt to the water when you cook it. Salt toughens the corn when it cooks.
- Don’t cool off hot corn by running under cold water. This will make the corn soggy.
- Don’t cook the corn too long (you can eat it raw); it just needs to be hot. Corn will not be as sweet if it’s cooked too long.
BLACK BEAN AND CORN SOUP (dairy or pareve)
2 cans (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup salsa
1 cup fresh corn (you can use frozen)
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Directions: In a blender, combine the cream or substitute and 1 cup black beans; cover and process until smooth. Set the mixture aside. In a saute pan, saute the onion in the oil just until its tender. Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the salsa, corn, lime juice, cumin and remaining beans. Mix to combine and then reduce the heat and stir in cream mixture. Cook, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is hot. Stir in the avocado, cook for 2 minutes and spoon into bowl. Top with sour cream and cheese if desired.
Modified from about.com.
CORN AND MOCK CRAB SOUP (dairy, fish)
Servings: 6 as an appetizer, 4 as an entrée
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 tablespoons flour
2 quarts vegetable or (pareve) chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into approx. ½-inch cubes
3 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 lb. imitation crab, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 to 1 1/2 cups half and half (warmed to a simmer)
kosher salt and ground white pepper, to taste
In a stock pot saute the chopped onion and cook over a medium heat until it the onions are soft. Add the flour and stir until the flour is combined with the onion and it starts to get golden, but don’t let it brown. Slowly whisk in the stock, making sure there are no lumps. Bring the mixture to a boil then add the wine and potatoes and reduce it to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Add the corn and mock crab, mix to combine and then stir in the warm half and half. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Serve right away.
Modified from smittenkitten.com.
CORN AND CHEESE BAKE (dairy)
Servings: 6 – 8
3 ears of corn, kernels off
1 (11 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 (8.5 ounce) package dry corn bread mix
1 small onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl combine the corn, cream-style corn, sour cream, red and green peppers, egg, dry corn bread mix, onion and 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Mix well and pour into the prepared dish. Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let set for at least 5 minutes before serving. Top with salsa if desired.
From my files, source unknown.
COUSCOUS CORN AND CHICKEN SALAD (meat)
Servings: 6 – 8
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
2 to 3 cups cooked couscous
2 to 3 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey (leftovers are great)
2 to 3 ears of corn kernels
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 roasted red bell peppers, chopped (you can use the canned or jarred kind)
In a jar with a tight lid, combine the olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt and Tabasco. Cover and shake to mix. In a bowl combine the couscous, chicken, onion, corn, celery and water chestnuts. Mix. Pour the dressing over the top, mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
My files, source unknown.
SALMON CORN CAKES (dairy, fish)
1 lb cooked salmon (I bake mine or use leftovers)
2 ears of corn kernels
2 green onions, sliced thin
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 to 1 cup bread crumbs (fresh and soft)
oil for frying
In a bowl combine the salmon, corn, green onion, parsley, egg, butter, ginger, paprika, soy salt and salt. Gently mix to combine, then add 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and mix to combine. Form the mixture into patties, making sure to press the mixture together firmly. Add more bread crumbs if you need to help everything stay together. Press the bread crumbs onto both sides of each patty.
In a skillet heat the oil. Cook each patty for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Be careful when you flip these patties; they can fall apart so you may want to use to spatulas. Drain on paper towels and serve with lemon wedges.
Modified from epicurean.com.
TOMATO CORN PIE (dairy)
Servings: 6 – 8
1 1/2 cups corn, about 3 ears
3 large tomatoes, diced and drained on paper towels
1/4 cup mayonnaise or sour cream
2 green onions, sliced
1 handful basil, chopped
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2 pre-made or homemade pie crusts, with enough dough to cover top
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the corn, tomatoes, mayonnaise, green onions, basil, cheddar cheese and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into an unbaked pie shell. Place the remaining pie crust on top and crimp the edges together. Cut a few vents in the top for the steam to escape and brush the melted butter on top. Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Modified from tasteofhome.com.
CORN BEEF AND BARLEY SALAD (meat)
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 lbs steak for grilling
2 cups cooked barley
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (about 5 cobs)
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander or parsley
1/3 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoons salt
3 to 4 cups shredded red leaf lettuce
1 cup shredded carrots
In small bowl, stir together oil, chili powder, salt, pepper and garlic; brush over steak and let stand for 15 minutes. Grill the steak until medium rare, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and tent with foil; let stand for 5 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain.
Salad: In large bowl, combine barley, corn, tomatoes, coriander, onion, oil, lime juice, cumin and salt; toss to combine.
Divide lettuce and carrots among plates; top with salad. Arrange the steak over the top of the lettuce and carrots and serve.
Modified from The Canadian Living Test Kitchen.
Certain produce requires careful examination for insects. For more information, please visit OU Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Chart and check out the newly released OU Manual for Checking Fruits and Vegetables.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.