The first time I eat sweet corn every season, it is usually torn right from the stalk, hastily shucked, and devoured raw while standing in the field. The second time, it is lightly boiled, slathered with butter and eaten on the cob. Then, after I’ve had my fill of corn on the cob, I start dreaming of things to do with the milky-sweet kernels besides eat them an ear at a time.
The trickiest part of cooking with corn off the cob is figuring out how to get those kernels off without sending them flinging across the kitchen or removing a finger at the same time. My trick is to cut each ear in half and cut the ends off so you have a sturdier object with a flat surface to work with. Then, stand one piece up on end in a pie plate (the edges help catch flying kernels). Slice gently along the cob, from top to bottom, with a sharp knife. Rotate and repeat until cob is sheered. Repeat with all pieces.
If you own a mandolin (the kitchen tool, not the stringed instrument), ignore above advice and put that thing to use! You might have to play with the blade setting to figure out the perfect thickness to get the most of every kernel. Carefully, slide a cob down across the blade, making sure to avoid fingertips. Rotate corn and repeat. It usually takes about 4-5 quick slides to de-kernel a cob.
Now it’s time to get corny! Here’s a recipe to make the most of Taproot’s tasty corn:
Summer Corn Chowder
1 sweet onion
1 lb New Potatoes or Fingerling potatoes (about 1/2 of what’s in your share box)
1 medium summer squash, optional
2 cloves garlic
4 ears of corn
1 red slicing or medium heirloom tomato
1 quart chicken or veggie broth
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons dijon or brown mustard
bacon and small heirloom tomatoes for garnish
1 Prep: Chop onion and potatoes into small dices (about 1/4 inch). Mince garlic. Slice kernels of corn cobs. Roughly chop tomato.
2. Sauté: Coat the bottom of a heavy soup pot or Dutch Oven with olive oil. Heat and add potatoes and onion. Sauté until onions are translucent. Stir in garlic, summer squash, herbs and spices. Continue cooking for 2 minutes.
3. Simmer: Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
4. Blend: Ladle about half of the mixture into a blender and puree. Return to pot and stir. If you have an immersion blender, leave the blender in the center of the pot and blend until about half done, leaving chunks of potatoes and squash.
5. Chowder time: Stir in milk, mustard, corn, and tomatoes. Return soup to a very low simmer, taking care not to boil. When chowder is heated through, taste and adjust seasoning.
6. Serve: Garnish with diced tomatoes and crumbled bacon.