While supermarkets and supply chains have made it possible for us to eat nearly any food we want at any time of the year, there remains one delicious treat that truly is seasonal – sweet corn. Specifically corn on the cob.
Nothing says summertime like a plate stacked with steaming hot corn on the cob dripping in butter.
As a child, I remember one particular summer when I had lost both front teeth and was relegated to eating corn off the cob while I waited for my permanent teeth to come back in.
My grandfather, who had unreliable dentures, was an old hand at slicing long rows of corn “caterpillars” from the bright yellow cobs. It was fun to watch him slice corn off of each cob for the two of us, but I was happy when I had both teeth the following summer to enjoy corn on the cob again.
Sweet corn is as much a part of an American summer as the 4th of July and barbecues. And it’s something many of us look forward to each year.
But aside from eating sweet corn straight from the cob, many of us struggle to come up with other ways to enjoy it. And what do you do with it if you want to save some of it? I’ve got some great ways for you to eat corn on the cob this summer.
Grab your ears, and let’s get shucking!
I thought we would start with the traditional favorite – corn on the cob. But not your everyday corn on the cob. These recipes take this summertime favorite to new heights.
Oh, boy, if you’ve never had Mexican street corn, you’ve got to give it a try. Known as elote in Mexico, sweet corn is grilled until the kernels just begin to blacken; this imparts an incredible smoky flavor to the corn. Right before you serve it, the corn is slathered with a tangy sauce made from mayonnaise, lime juice and chili powder. Then crumbled cotija cheese and chopped cilantro are sprinkled over the top. This recipe from Cookie + Kate is pretty close to authentic without an ingredient list as long as your arm.
I could eat this alone as a meal; it’s just that good.
Hint – if cotija is hard to come by in your area, you can easily substitute feta cheese.
For the easiest corn on the cob you’ll ever eat, just turn on your oven. When you roast sweet corn in the oven, you don’t even need to husk it first. The husk retains the moisture and helps steam the kernels resulting in easy and delicious corn on the cob.
With all the great pesto recipes out there, you’ve got to make a batch of this super tasty pesto corn on the cob. I highly recommend using garlic mustard pesto if you can. The spicy kick of wild-foraged garlic mustard makes a great pair with fresh sweet corn.
If you’ve ever had a crab boil, then you’ve probably enjoyed corn on the cob seasoned with this classic seafood seasoning. This time, let’s make the corn the main focus instead of an afterthought added to the stockpot. Give your grilled or roasted corn on the cob a serious kick with a healthy sprinkling of Old Bay.
5. Crack Corn
You’ve never tasted corn on the cob like this before. With a sweet glaze, one ear is never enough; you’ll be reaching for just one more every time you finish one. Hence the name of the recipe. Be careful; this corn on the cob is addictive!
Once you’ve eaten all the corn on the cob you can, it’s time to start getting creative with sweet corn.
You can always use a sharp paring knife to slice kernels from the cooked ear. I find cutting the end of the corn cob off helps make the ear level and less likely to slip while you’re cutting.
Another great tool for cutting corn kernels from corn is a corn peeler. These work in much the same way as a vegetable peeler, except the blade is curved like an ear of corn.
You’re going to want to give this one a try. I know what you’re probably thinking, “Corn? In Waffles?” I was thinking the same thing until I remembered how delicious cornbread is.
You could even take these in a more savory direction by skipping out on the strawberry syrup and topping the waffles with sauteed veggies.
Gather all the flavors of summer together in one tasty dish. This corn salad starts with smoky, grilled corn and tosses it with all the fresh produce available this time of year. Make up a double batch of salad and take it to your next barbecue or potluck. Macaroni salad? What macaroni salad?
Corn fritters have to be one of my favorite ways to eat sweet corn other than on the cob. I’m a huge fan of food that doesn’t require utensils to eat it, and fritters fit the bill. Make up a plate of these delicious corn pancakes for dinner and serve them with all types of dipping sauces – barbecue, honey mustard, ranch, garlic aioli, lime crema. You name it—even good ol’ maple syrup pairs well with these tasty, crunchy little corn cakes.
As a Pennsylvanian, I would be remiss if I didn’t include a Pennsylvania favorite on this list – chicken corn soup. I remember when I moved here, I saw this soup pop up at every restaurant in town. Chicken corn soup is a Pennsylvania Dutch staple, and after one bowl, I learned why. This simple soup became a favorite wintertime dinner in our house.
Make several batches while sweet corn is in season and freeze it for a quick weeknight dinner when the snow is flying.
Of course, we can’t let the broth-based soups have all the fun. Who doesn’t love a good creamy soup? This classic corn chowder delivers the goods. Creamy, sweet and savory. This soup is another great option to make in large batches and freeze or pressure can for cooler nights.
I know there’s a whole debate out there about whether or not it’s okay to put pineapple on pizza. (It’s not.) Let’s just skip that nonsense and change things up a bit. How about sweet corn on pizza instead? Make up a ham and sweet corn pizza to eat while you sit back and watch the ham and pineapple pizza debate.
Yeah. I don’t know. I threw it in here for the adventurous. If you make it let me know what you think by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I get the impression that it would be really creamy and might be a good base for a berry syrup of some sort. Or perhaps you could top it with caramel for a caramel popcorn flavor combo.
If you’ve got plenty of tomatoes and sweet corn from your garden, this is a great way to make a delicious and healthy side dish. These warm and savory tomatoes would also make an excellent entrée for a vegetarian dinner.
And if you’re looking to use up some corn from the garden, you most likely have more zucchini than you know what to do with as well. Kill two birds with one stone with these easy and mouth-watering zucchini boats stuffed with grilled corn.
Okay, this one is pretty great. You get that nice chewy, nutty burst from the corn kernels mixed in with the crunch of the crisp topping, all surrounded by the gooey sweet tang of the blueberries. This flavor combo, as odd as it might sound, just works! It’s like cornflakes with blueberries fancier cousin.
Who doesn’t love a good salsa? Mix things up a bit and give this corn salsa a try. Between the fresh corn, black beans and the lime juice, your taco night just got so much better. This is definitely a great recipe to take to a picnic or barbecue too.
Because of corn’s inherent creaminess, it lends itself well to dishes with a creamy texture. So when it comes to carbonara, adding fresh sweet corn is a no-brainer. Add in crispy, salty bacon, and you’ve got an easy and inexpensive dinner that will wow.
You can’t go wrong with a classic. If you’ve never tried succotash, I highly recommend you give it a taste. The beans and corn pair so well together. This is another easy and inexpensive dish to round out a meal. And once you taste it, it’s sure to be a part of your regular summer recipes.
If you’re looking for an incredibly easy and comforting dish to go with dinner, look no further than this 5-ingredient casserole. If you want to turn it into a full meal, all on its own, add some chopped scallions and cubed ham.
Want a quick and easy lunch or dinner that won’t heat up the kitchen a lot? Give these roasted corn quesadillas a try. You can easily skip roasting the corn in the oven and toss it on the grill instead. You’ll get the added benefit of smokier-tasting corn in your quesadillas.
And that’s that. We hope you enjoy this season’s bounty of delicious gold!