Looking for great corn recipes? Lend me your ears

Looking for great corn recipes? Lend me your ears

Before new supersweet hybrids of corn were developed, cooks followed the pick-it-cook-it rule. They knew that corn’s sugar started to convert to starch as soon as it was harvested, so for the sweetest taste corn needed to be consumed within minutes, or at most hours of picking. But new hybrids are extremely sweet, juicy and very crisp; the shelf life is extended to up to one week.

Everyone seems to have a different way to blanch fresh corn on the cob. I use the easy technique that my mother used and have always found it to have delicious results. Place husked corn in a pot and add cold water to cover corn. Place on high heat and bring to boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Voila.

To remove kernels from the cob, stand ear upright on rimmed baking sheet. Using sharp knife, start at top of cob cutting down slowly. Leave a little less than 1/ 4 of kernel base attached to cob. Rotate cob and repeat, until all kernels have been removed.

For the freshest taste buy corn with the husks intact. Look for plump kernels and green husks, avoiding any that look dried out. To check kernels, pull back portion of husk. Refrigerate (with husks intact) in plastic bag in crisper drawer up to 7 days, but for freshest taste eat as soon as possible.

To freeze, blanch (on cob) in boiling water for 2 minutes; drain and refresh in cold running water. Pat dry and remove kernels from cob. Place in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Freeze. When frozen, place airtight in freezer bag pressing out air and sealing tightly, then return to freezer.

Tomato, Corn and Olive Salad

Yield: 8 servings


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off cob

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup diced, seeded vine-ripened tomatoes; see cook’s notes

1/2 cup pitted imported black olives, such as Kalamata

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1/4 cup finely shredded fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

Romaine lettuce or Butter lettuce

2-3 medium-large vine-ripened tomatoes, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; see cook’s notes

Cook’s notes: A tasty variation on this recipe is to use fried green (unripe) tomatoes as a base for the corn salad. Cut green tomatoes into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Dip in cornmeal (seasoned with salt and pepper) to cover and fry in a combination of vegetable oil and butter until coating is crisp. Drain on paper towels and top with corn salad.


1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn and cook about 4 minutes or until corn is tender. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add vinegar and cook until most of liquid evaporates.

2. Remove from heat; stir in diced tomatoes, olives, green onions and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cool. (The corn mixture can be refrigerated overnight at this point, if desired.) Arrange lettuce on serving platter. Place tomato slices on top in single layer. Season slices with salt and pepper. Spoon corn mixture over top of tomatoes.

Chilled Corn Soup With Tomato-Bacon Toasts

Chilled Corn Soup With Tomato-Bacon Toasts is a great summer soup-and-sandwich combo. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Often corn soup recipes use crumbled bacon as a garnish; with this concoction, that luscious meaty element is used in an open-faced side sandwich augmented with sharp cheese and sliced tomato. Some of the bacon flavor laces the soup because the bacon drippings are used to cook the vegetables.

Yield: 4 servings


4 slices thick-cut bacon

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 medium garlic clove, minced

Coarse salt, such as kosher, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 5 to 6 ears of corn)

2 cups water, plus 1 1/2 cups ice water, divided use

1/2 cup sour cream

4 slices rustic country bread

4 ounces sharp cheese, such as manchego or white cheddar, thinly sliced

2 medium tomatoes, slices into 1/4-inch rounds

Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Optional garnish: fresh chives, cut crosswise into small pieces


1. In a large straight-sided skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, turning once, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels, leaving bacon fat in skillet. Add onion, garlic, pinch of salt to skillet; cook, stirring 8 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of corn, 2 cups water, plus salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and most of liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and stir in 1 1/2 cup ice water and sour cream. Blend in 2 batches in blender or food processor until smooth. Refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes.

2. Toast bread. Top with cheese, tomatoes and bacon; season with pepper. Stir soup and ladle into bowls. Garnish with reserved 1/2 cup corn, more pepper and drizzles of oil. If desired, sprinkle on some chopped fresh chives.

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine

Double Corn With Divine Blender Dressing

Sweet corn and popcorn join forces in this salad. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

This delicious salad shows off two types of corn — sweet corn kernels and popcorn. The blender dressing brings the salad together in a lovely way. It’s a creamy cheese blend that includes both white sharp cheddar and blue cheese. If you like, include some wedges of ripe-but-not-squishy avocado or halved green grapes.


Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2/3 cup popcorn, see cook’s notes, divided use

Chipotle Tabasco sauce or Frank’s RedHot hot sauce

4 corn on the cob, husked, brushed with canola oil to lightly coat

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 head Iceberg lettuce, or a combination of Iceberg and Romaine lettuces

4 green onions, trimmed

1 ounce sharp white cheddar cheese

1 ounce blue cheese

6 tablespoons plain yogurt (not Greek-style)

1/4 peeled garlic clove

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard or English mustard such as Colman’s

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

4 sprigs fresh cilantro

Cook’s notes: If you prefer to prepare your popcorn from scratch — heat about 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil in a large skillet that has a lid. Add 1/4 cup popping corn and cover; shake handle and heat until popping noise subsides. Once popped, off heat add a few generous shakes of hot sauce and toss.


1. Place popcorn in small bowl. Add salt, if unsalted, and top with a few shakes of hot sauce and toss. Set aside.

2. Heat grill or grill pan. Grill oiled corn, turning to brown all sides. Set aside.

3. Chop lettuce(s), and thinly slice green onions; add to large bowl. Add half of popcorn to bowl. To prepare dressing, break the cheeses into chunks and add to blender; add yogurt, garlic, mustard, vinegar and Worcestershire. Whirl until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste; whirl to mix.

4. Cut corn kernels off cobs and add to bowl. Add dressing and toss. Taste and correct seasoning as needed. Top with remaining popcorn and cilantro leaves.

Source: Adapted from “Ultimate Veg” by Jamie Oliver (Flatiron Books, $35)

Have a cooking question?

Contact Cathy Thomas at cathythomascooks@gmail.com

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