Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Corn on the cob
When I was growing up, my mother would shuck the corn, discarding the corn silk and saving the inner leaves to place on top of the corn during cooking. She'd put the corn and a teaspoon of sugar into a large pot, fill it with water and place the leaves over the corn before putting the lid on and letting it boil for 15-20 minutes. Once ready, it would be served with tons of salted butter. The corn was served on separate plates so that one could continue to roll the corn in the melted butter before each bite. We even had tiny little forks you'd stick in either end so you wouldn't burn your fingers. Naturally they were in the shape of little corn cobs. That, of course, was in the days before everyone was concerned with cholesterol, trans fats, clogged arteries and other heart diseases. The only times I avoided corn was when I was breast feeding my older daughter and, again, when I was very pregnant with my younger one. My eating corn didn't agree with either of them!
In the last few years, I've looked longingly at corn, inhaling the smell of it in markets, enviously watching others cull through the corn bin to find the perfect cobs with straight rows of plump kernels, but refrained from buying it because I couldn't imagine it served without butter. Then I went to a multicultural festival at Harbour Front on the shores of Lake Ontario. Every summer there are festivals celebrating the various ethnic communities that make their home in Toronto. Naturally, in addition to music and dance, there are booths selling delicacies. One sunny Sunday afternoon, my husband and I were wandering through the food tents trying to choose between, West Indian roti, East Indian curry, falafel, and dozens of other delicious dishes from around the world. And then I discovered the most wonderful offering of all - corn on the cob, but not just ANY corn on the cob. This was a stand from Jamaica and the corn wasn't served with butter, it was served with Jerk or Cajun spices and a half a lime. You press the cut side of the lime over the spices and then, squeezing the lime, rub it over the corn. You can make it as spicy as you like, or mild enough to taste the tang of the lime against the sweetness of the corn. Honestly, it's amazing.
1. Early in the day, I boil the corn, starting it out in cold water with a few of the inner husks (not the silk) to sweeten the water.
2. Once the water comes to a boil, I reduce the heat to medium low and let it cook it for 5 minutes.
3. Then I turn off the heat, leave the corn in the pot for another 10 minutes. Drain the water and cover. (I usually blast the air conditioner and stay out of the kitchen until it cools down. )
4. When we're BBQing, we just add the corn to the grill for a few minutes just before the rest of the meal is ready. This heats it up without having that burnt popcorn taste. If I'm not BBQing, then I pop it in the microwave for a minute. All without having a sauna in the kitchen.