T H E J O Y S O F S U M M E R; Corn on the Cob and Fresh Corn and Avocado Salsa!
We waited a whole year for the corn to be ready again! The very best way to eat corn begins with something not everyone has, a garden with corn in it! We grew corn when we lived out in California. . .
Here’s our “corn garden” . . . it’s one thing to tickle the earth with a hoe, as they say, and have corn jump out of the ground, but Martha’s Vineyard (where we are now) is not California — you’re bound to run into trouble here (either too cold, too hot, too humid, too buggie, too rainy, too overcast, too something for unprofessional corn-grower, me, to take a chance and get my heart broken because it was set on a perfect row of corn). But let’s pretend we all have a big garden out there in the sun filled with rows of perfect ripe corn. If we did, and it was August, and the first corn was ripe . . .
. . . we’d fill a big kettle halfway with unsalted water, put the lid on, and bring it to a rolling boil. Then we’d run out to the garden and pick corn (make a little basket out of our apron skirt and fill it with ears), then back to the kitchen, husk it and drop it in the water.
Then all we do is get it piping hot, as vessel for butter; fresh sweet corn doesn’t have to be “cooked” — three minutes in the water is fine; it’s so good you can eat it with nothing on it …. or slather it with plenty of butter, salt, and pepper.
My dad especially loves sweet corn — he taught us to look for the whitest corn with small tight kernels, the kind that pops off the ear into your mouth. It’s dreamy, if you can find it, your eyes roll back in your head. I can still see all of us around our picnic table in the back yard, my four brothers, just out of the pool, barefooted, brown, and shirtless, my sisters in pink bathing suits with ruffled bottoms, corn kernels stuck to chins, butter rolling off fingers, and my dad, happy as a clam, at the head of the table, saying to my mother, “Pat, it’s so sweet, isn’t it sweet kids?” He LOVES corn season.
There are all kinds of recipes some people think are “improvements” to the corn; lime butter, jalapeno butter, garlic butter, or Parmesan cheese . . . I would definitely eat that if someone served it to me, but at home, we stick to the basics. Perfect is perfect enough for us. Since not all of us can grow it, fresh corn from roadside stands or farmer’s markets is the way to go and worth the trip. While you’re at it, make a few extra ears. . .
. . . the next day cut the corn off the cob (really easy to do, wide bowl, sharp knife) and make this quick fresh salsa to serve with lime tortilla chips and a salty Margarita one of these lazy hazy days of August.
C A L I F O R N I A C O R N S A L S A
- Kernels cut off of 3 ears of fresh corn (cooked or raw)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/4 c. red onion, minced
- 1 ripe, bumpy-skinned avocado, cubed
- juice of one juicy lime
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 c. cilantro (or to taste)
Put first four ingredients into a bowl. Combine lime juice, olive oil, chili powder and salt, and pour over the corn. Add the cilantro, gently toss. Watch out, it’s slightly dangerous; what sometimes happens when you eat this, is THIS: