Summer Plate: Grilled Corn Coins
I’d better hurry up and post this recipe for Grilled Basil Garlic Corn Coins. I realize the last days of fresh-picked local corn on the cob are upon us, at least for this season. This second dish on my recently full summer plate is the perfect way to savor those last few ears that show up at the farmers market. Because the grilling imparts a smokey and more savory flavor to the corn, it’s a good preparation for corn that’s reached its end and may not be as sweet as it once was when the season was young. Plus it just looks beautiful cut into coins like this, doesn’t it? Good way to impress your dinner guests.
I spent the weekend with my family at the farm and enjoyed plenty of funny moments watching my young niece and nephew cover their faces in corn as they raced to eat their ears like typewriters. There was also a race to eat the most watermelon the fastest. I won that one, of course. Spending time there at the farm, immersed in nature and family, is always rejuvenating for my soul. Most weekends, D can attest to my groans come Sunday evening, when I rather predictably mutter something to the effect that the weekend went way to fast. While I was visiting with my family, enjoying working alongside my mom on some projects, picking the tail end of the garden harvests with my dad, and taking sun-kissed walks with the family dog, I was amazed at how long the days felt, stretching on for hours in the best way possible. Something about the beauty of wide open fields and the low light of autumn that slows the clock’s hands.
In those fields was plenty of corn, mostly the kind you feed to cows and pigs. But tucked in a few places are stands of sweet corn. My parents still use the same picking bag, made of an old feed sack, that my great grandmother had sewn long before I was born. It’s an interesting design, one that slings over your shoulder like a messenger’s bag, but it’s completely sewn shut save for a relatively small hold by the strap on one end. This hole is just big enough to slid an ear of corn through lengthwise, and yet because it’s narrow enough that you can bend over and move freely without worrying about spilling out your load. Ingenious, no?
I guess it was being back at “ground zero” for all my food origins that really stirred up so many memories about how we used to pick a shocking amount of corn as a family on summer evenings and then sit around in a circle on lawn chairs outside to husk, brush and cut out any worms or bad spots (yes, an ear of corn with a worm on it is still a perfectly edible ear, just get rid of the worm). Once we had our large basins stacked full of pristine ears, mom would set large kettles of water on to boil and the ears would be blanched, first dunked in the boiling water and then in large tubs of ice water, before being cut off the cob and frozen or canned for using later that winter. It was a lot of work, but when there were so many hands helping, it went by fast and with relative fun. My brother and I loved to watch my mom use her very sharp knife to cut the entire length of the cob without breaking the line of kernels coming off (it’s hard to explain but if you’ve cut corn off the cob, you’ll understand). I loved to eat those big long pieces right out of her basin. Each morsel was so so sweet, having barely left the stalk in the field before reaching my greedy mouth.
So go get your fill of summer before it’s all gone. There’s still plenty of delicious local food to be had before we’ll need to resort to our canned and frozen stashes. That being said, now’s a great time to go to your garden or the farmers market and pick plenty of extras of what you love to take into the kitchen to preserve. Corn in particular can be frozen (as generally described above), canned (good outline here), or even dried in your oven as I’ve talked about before.
Grilled Basil Garlic Corn Coins
A Straight from the Farm Original
4 ears of fresh corn
3 T. butter
3 cloves of garlic
3 T. finely chopped fresh basil
1 t. salt
fresh chopped parsley to garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. While you wait, husk and clean the ears of corn. Place ears in the pot and boil for 4-5 minutes. Use tongs to remove and let cool for a few minutes.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Use a garlic press or sharp knife to prepare the garlic, getting it as close to a paste as possible. Add it to the hot melted butter and cook just a minute until it starts to turn golden. Remove from heat and add the chopped basil. Swirl and let stand while you cut the corn.
Using a very sharp knife, very carefully cut the corn into round “coins” about an inch thick. Place them in a bowl and pour the basil garlic butter over them. Toss with your hands.
Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Use tongs to place the coins flat on the hot grill in a single layer. Allow to cook until nice dark grill marks form, about 5 minutes. Turn over and do the same for the other side. Sprinkle with the salt. Remove from heat and stack on a serving plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.