Corn. Love it. Always have. As kids we sucked on the cob long after the kernels were gone, mopping up any left over butter on the plate. Kid loves corn too. Always has.
Corn is a great, inexpensive and easy option. As a side dish or even as the centre piece of a meal, I haven’t met many little ones that won’t go for it.
Start with good fresh corn. Look for vivid yellow colour and plump, shiny kernels. It’s okay to pull the sheath back a little in the shops. If it’s not up to scratch, look elsewhere or wait for another time (summer). There is no point in compromising quality. I spent a good 5 minutes going through the corn at the shop today. I got a few weird looks but also the best corn they had. I thank my Mum for this habit ( the same Mum who happily selects green beans individually).
Corn on the Cob – Husk your corn and cook for 8-10 minutes in lightly salted, boiling water. The salt will help bring out the sweetness. Toss your freshly cooked corn with a generous amount of butter and a little sea salt. If you want to fancy this up, try making a compound butter (butter with stuff smooshed into it).
Compound butter ideas for corn – garlic and dill, chopped chilli and lime, smoked paprika, grated parmesan and chives, pesto…
*Bbq Corn on the cob – Just a different way to cook some good corn. The husk will help protect the corn from the heat of the bbq (to an extent, use a cooler area) but also help to create a delicate smokey, bbq flavour to your cob. Likewise those husks are great used as fuel for food smoking. particularly for the corn that grew in them.Charred Corn Salsa –
*2 corn -cobs bbq’d as above, 1 large red capsicum – roasted peeled and diced, 1 medium red tomato – de-seeded and diced, 1/2 a red onion – diced, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill, 1 tablespoon olive oil, juice from 1 lime, sea salt.
Cut the kernels away from the cob with a sharp knife, careful not to cut too close where the tough bits are. Break up the corn with your fingers, add the other ingredients and mix well. We’re serving this on baked potatoes with cottage cheese for dinner. It will go great in tacos too. Or just serve as a dip.Anglaise – Anglaise is a French sauce, usually sweet. A light custard thickened with egg yolks. We won’t be using yolks, just the natural starch of the corn. Take 2 cobs, husked. Run a sharp knife down the sides of the cob, removing all of the kernels. Cut as close to the cob as possible. Place the kernels in a vitamiser or food processor until pulpy. Place the pulp into a strainer and press all of the juice out of the pulp.
Transfer the juice to a double boiler, stirring constantly with a spoon or spatula. As the juice gets hot it will begin to thicken. Be sure to keep it moving. When it just coats the back of your spoon, remove from the heat. Serve this with grilled chicken or salmon. In restaurants I have served this with seared sea scallops and pancetta.
Corn Crumpets – This was one of C&K’s first ever recipes. Check it out here
Stir Fry Baby Corn – Baby corn is the same vegetable harvested immaturely. Find fresh in your green grocers, avoid the tin.
Plunge baby corn into hot water, remove straight away and chill. Stir fry in a hot wok or fry pan with a little oil, sliced garlic, sliced red capsicum, tofu (chicken, scallops, prawns or pre-cooked pork belly are great here also) and spring onions. Finish with a little chinese cooking wine and dark soy. Serve.
Polenta – Dried corn kernels ground to a meal. It varies in coarseness, the finer the grain, the quicker the cooking time. Fine polenta is also great for rolling seafood in before deep-frying.
*1 cup fine white polenta, 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, 2 bay leaves, salt, 50ml cream, 1 tablespoon grated parmesan. Whisk the polenta into hot stock and simmer gently for 1.25 hours. Instant polenta is ready sooner. It will want to stick so keep it off the bottom of the pan with frequent stirring.
Alternatively, use a double boiler. Finish with the cream, sea salt and parmesan. Substitute anywhere you would serve mash.
Corn Dip – Cook some corn, shave off the kernels and blend well. Mix with cream cheese and chives. Did someone say corn chips?
Corn Chips – Make your own corn chips at least once in your life. I’ll admit we don’t do it often. Packets are so much easier and cheaper and there are some decent organic, not covered in life-preserver yellow options out there now too. But, as with most things, the best corn chips are the corn chips you make yourself. Recipe here
Corn Cakes – Jaffle Style – These are made with a fritter recipe and cooked in a jaffle maker. It uses no oil which may interest you, or you could make them in a fry pan with oil for a crispier texture. Great served with some avocado and bacon for breakfast. Look here.
What Kids Can Do
Peeling the husk is a great kids job. The fine hairs inside are called corn ‘silk’. If you’re bbqing them make sure it’s not too hot for little hands, remembering the husk will trap some heat inside. Stirring anglaise, mixing batter, rolling dough for corn chips. Making salsa. All great kids’ jobs too. It’s fairly easy to grow your own corn, if you have space and time. It’s another great way for kids to see where food comes from and how it works. Not to mention the immense satisfaction of eating food you and the kids have grown yourselves. Paddock to plate my friends.
This list could go on. It’s hard to think of a more versatile vegetable for cooking, not to mention the by-products eg corn syrup, corn oil, live stock feed and mulch to name a few…
I think my favourite is still corn on the cob with butter. At Mum and Dad’s. As a kid.
Not all corn is yellow. Some is white. Some is blue. There are other colours and varieties also. Where we’re from in sunny little Brisbane, yellow is the variety we’re used to.
Google it, go to images and show the kids. You’ll blow their sweet little minds 🙂