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On the barbecue, off the cob, in custard ... 6 fresh ways with summer's fresh corn.

On the barbecue, off the cob, in custard. . . 6 fresh ways with summer's fresh corn

As American as apple pie, corn is at the peak of its availability this month. Now is the time to enjoy this summer favorite.

One of the most direct ways to eat corn is on the cob. In the first recipe, strip off the silk but not the husks. Paint the ears with an herb butter, then pull the husk back over the cob to contain the seasonings as the corn cooks on the grill.

Off the cob, summer corn sauteed with onions makes a most agreeable vegetable dish; this same mixture baked in a custard becomes a main dish for lunch or dinner. Briefly cooked kernels, cooled with a fragrant fresh herb dressing, make an attractive salad with avocado. Pureed corn and chilies combine for a fine soup. For enjoyment through the year with meat or fish, preserve corn in a tangy relish.

When you shop, select ears with fresh-looking husks and silk free from decay; pull back tip of husk to check for worm damage. When pierced with a thumbnail, corn kernels should give a spurt of thin, milky juice. Thick liquid and tough skin indicate overmaturity.

To cut corn kernels from cob, husk and remove silk; then, holding the stem end, support the ear on its tip. Using a sharp knife, cut down the ear, parallel to the cob, freeing kernels. One large ear of unhusked corn (12 oz.) yields about 3/4 cup kernels.

Corn Barbecued in Husks

To prepare corn for the barbecue, pull off dry outside husks until you reach the light green inner husks; tear several outside husks into 1/4-inch strips to use as ties later. Gently pull back inner husks without tearing from cobs. Remove and discard corn silk. Spread each ear with 2 teaspoons room-temperature butter or margarine; sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dry basil.

Lay inner husks back in place around corn; tie at top of ear so corn is completely enclosed. Immerse corn in cold water to cover for 20 to 30 minutes.

Lift corn from water; drain. Lay ears on a grill about 6 inches above a solid bed of hot coals. Cook, turning every 3 to 5 minutes, until husks are brown on all sides and corn is hot and a darker golden color, 15 to 20 minutes. To serve, pull off husks; sprinkle corn with salt and pepper. Allow 1 or 2 ears of corn per serving.

Corn Salad with Three-Herb Dressing

1 cup salad oil

4 cups (5 lbs. or 6 to 7 ears) corn kernels (see cutting directions on page 118)

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup each finely chopped fresh mint and fresh cilantro (coriander)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill Salt and pepper

1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 12 to 18 slices

1 large tomato, cut into 12 wedges

Warm 1/3 cup of the oil in a 10-to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring, until corn is hot and a darker golden yellow, about 2 minutes. Transfer corn to a large bowl.

Whisk together remaining 2/3 cup oil, vinegar, mustard, and sugar to make the dressing. Combine dressing with the corn, mint, cilantro, and dill. Mix gently to coat corn with dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, or cover and chill until cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

To present, set 2 or 3 avocado and tomato pieces alternately on 6 salad plates. Mound equal portions of corn salad on plates. Drizzle some of the extra dressing over tomatoes and avocado. Serves 6.

Old-fashioned Corn Relish

4 cups cider vinegar

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons each celery seed and mustard seed

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

6 cups (6 lbs. or 8 to 9 ears) corn kernels (see cutting directions on page 118)

2 cups finely shredded cabbage

2 large onions, chopped

2 each large red and green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped

About 1 teaspoon salt

In a 5- to 6-quart pan, combine vinegar, sugar, celery seed, mustard seed, and turmeric. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the corn, cabbage, onion, and peppers. Return mixture to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Season with salt.

Ladle hot relish into hot sterilized pint canning jars, adding equal liquid to each and leaving a 1/2-inch head space. Wipe rims and put scalded lids in place; screw on rings tightly.

Set jars on a rack in a deep kettle; add boiling water to cover. Bring to simmering; simmer 15 minutes. Lift jars from water and cool on towel. Press lids to test seal. If lid pops back up, lid is not sealed and relish must be stored in the refrigerator. Makes about 7 pints.

Corn and Onion Saute

Melt 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter margarine in a 12- to 14-inch frying pan over medium heat. Add 4 large thinly sliced onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are limp and golden, about 20 minutes. Add 3 cups (3 lbs. or 4 to 5 ears) corn kernels (see cutting directions on page 118). Cook, stirring, just until corn is hot and turns a darker golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with ground nutmeg, salt, and white pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8.

Sweet Corn and Onion Custard

Prepare the cron and onion saute as directed in preceding recipe. Blend 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon dry mustard into vegetables in pan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture is hot and bubbly; slowly stir in 1 cup milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat.

Beat 3 eggs in a large bowl until blended. Mix in 1 cup sour cream, 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese, the corn mixture, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a well-greased 2-quart shallow baking dish. Bake in a 325| oven until custard in firm when touched in center but still jiggles slightly when dish is shaken, 35 to 45 minutes. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

Aztec Corn Soup

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine

3 1/2 cups (4 lbs. or 5 to 6 ears) corn kernels (see cutting directions on page 118)

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

1 cup regular-strength chicken broth

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon dry oregano leaves

1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded jack cheese Salt

1 large tomato, cored and diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves

Melt butter in a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium heat. Add the corn and garlic; cook, stirring, until corn is hot and a darker golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whirl 2 cups of the corn and the broth in a blender until pureed; return to pan. Stir in the milk, oregano, and chilies; bring to a boil, stirring, over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in the cheese. Season with salt. Transfer soup to a serving container; garnish with tomato and cilantro. Serves 4 to 6.

Photo: Grill husk-wrapped corn until husks are charred and corn is hot and dark golden

Photo: Dressed in vinaigrette, corn makes cool salad

Photo: Ladle sweet-tart corn relish into canning jars; process in a hot water bath

Photo: To release corn kernels, start at stem end and cut down the cob with a sharp knife
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Aug 1, 1984
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