Back in Indiana, Eating Sweet Corn

After a whirlwind tour attending weddings that had us crisscrossing from Italy to Los Angeles and quite a few places in between, we’re back in Indiana. I have so much catching up to do on blog posts that I hardly know where to start. So for now I’ll make like a good farmer and just talk corn.

One of the best things about summer in the country is the sweet corn. We have returned just in time to pick sackfuls of the fresh ears grown by Jerry, one of my favorite Dupontians. (Jerry also happens to my best local source of cooking advice and fresh egg supplier extraordinaire.)

D and I waded through the waving green stalks, bugs buzzing and a hot sun above us. Occasionally I yelped upon encountering ears of corn riddled with black beetles and small white worms. D’s response: You wanted organic!

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We picked what I considered to be a lot – two big shopping bags full of bright green ears – and drove back to the equipment shop on the main farm. There we found Jerry in the midst of shucking a big old tub of corn which he had already gone and picked for me. Apparently my meager two bags were not enough to “put up” for winter eating. While we shucked the rest of the ears, Jerry told me how to put up corn for winter:

  1. Remove any bad spots and boil the ears of corn for 15 minutes.
  2. Immediately plunge the corn into cold water to stop it from cooking any further.
  3. Line your counter with a couple of dish towels and lay the corn out to dry and cool off.
  4. As soon as it’s cooled enough to hold, cut the corn from the cob.
  5. Put the corn in freezer bags, label with the date and pop the bags in the freezer.

Voila! Fresh corn for the winter. Having spent yesterday afternoon doing this, I feel rather like the industrious ant in Aesop’s famous fable.

Of course all of the corn can’t be saved for later. Apart from gently cooked ears so tender and flavorful that salt, pepper and butter are merely optional, this recipe for corn with tomatoes and basil is the quintessential summer dish. I learned it from the mother of one of D’s closest friends and it’s an ideal way to celebrate the summer’s bounty.

Fresh & Simple: Corn with Tomatoes & Basil

Grab a few ears of fresh corn, uncooked, and slice the kernels from the cob. Roughly chop up a ripe tomato or two, or slice cherry tomatoes in half. Tear a handful of basil into small bits. Throw this into a pan along with a couple of generous glugs of good olive oil. Stir and grind in sea salt and pepper to taste. You’re done once the skin on the tomatoes starts to wrinkle.

I made this with fresh grilled fish en papilliote on Friday night and it was perfection. A bowl on its own makes for a delicious summer lunch.

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Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend! I promise to finally share travel tales and photos next week.

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