I know that we’ve already served up two posts, several recipes and even a poem about corn, but I figure, at this time of year, you can never get enough of the good stuff.
I have to admit that, at peak season, I have a hard time resisting plain corn on the cob. It tends to be so sweet that you barely need butter and salt. It’s just perfect. But, these two recipes are always worth the (minimal!) effort. Lets start with my Fresh Corn and Ricotta Crostini.
Crostini and bruschetta (read about the difference between the two) are one of my go-to, quick entertaining tricks. They are quick and easy, make use of what you have on hand and, most importantly, satisfying. After all, we’re talking about yummy pieces of toast topped with good stuff. In this case, corn sauteed with shallots (a combo as perfect as hot buttered corn cobs) over fresh ricotta. They take all of 20 minutes and one pan to make.
Fresh Corn and Ricotta Crostini
1/2-3/4 loaf bread (italian or baguette; day old is fine), cut into 1/2″ slices
olive oil, to brush on bread and drizzle on cheese
3 Tbsp organic butter
1/2 c finely chopped shallots
3 ears fresh corn, kernels cut from the cob
one container ricotta cheese (fresh makes this especially delicious)
salt and pepper, to taste
chevril, basil or chives, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the meantime, lightly brush top side of bread slices. Toast until light golden brown.
2. While bread toasts, heat butter in a large skillet. When sizzling, add shallots and saute until they just begin turning golden brown. Add corn and continue sauteing until corn is cooked through and you get a nice, light caramelization. Season older kid and adult portions with salt and pepper.
3. Spread ricotta on bread—the exact amount depends on your taste. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Top with corn and shallot saute. Garnish with fresh herbs.
I developed this next recipe for a really great blog event called Summer Fest. Every week for a little over a month, food bloggers around the country post recipes for the ingredient of the week. The week before last was corn and I figured, if I was going to go through the trouble of making something with corn (again, instead of just eating it right of the cob), I was going to go big!
I served this corn salad over homemade corn cakes, which came out gorgeous! I sauteed fresh corn cut off of the cob, whipped up a batter and threw the two together ahead of time. Then, once the grilling began, I fried up the corn cakes. (Someone else was manning the grill.) By the time the cakes were done, I was handed grilled corn and a charred jalapeno. The rest came together 1-2-3: I cut the grilled corn off the cob, mixed it with the other salad ingredients and tossed it with a (spicy, if you’re me) lime vinaigrette. I topped the cakes with the corn salad, garnished with cilantro and crumbled cotija (or, more likely to be available) feta, and donezo.
That all said, you can easily serve this salad on its own as a side. Though they are totally worth it, there’s no need to make the corn cakes unless you’re moved to. If you skip them, though, just make sure to toss cheese into the salad. Believe me, it’s worth it.
Grilled Corn Salad with Lime Vinaigrette on Corn Cakes
For the Corn Cakes (makes 12 cakes)
2 Tbsp butter, plus more for frying cakes
1/4 of a red onion, finely diced
corn cut off of 3 ears
salt and pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c corn meal
5 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp sugar
For the Salad
4 ears grilled corn, cut off of the cob
3 scallion, chopped
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
cotija or feta cheese, crumbled
cilantro, chopped, for garnish
For the Vinaigrette
1 jalapeno, roasted (blacken on the grill, seal in a bag, peel charred skin off)
juice of 2 limes
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey (use sugar or syrup if sharing with a child under 12 mos)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper
1. Make the corn cakes: Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent. Add corn and saute until soft and onions begin to caramelize. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe pan down to use for corn cakes.
2. Make the batter by whisking together eggs, corn meal, milk, sugar and a sprinkle of salt. Generously grease the bottom of the hot pan. Fry cakes in batches as you would pancakes, making each about 4-5″ in diameter. Set aside.
3. Make the salad: Mix together the corn, tomatoes and scallions. I mixed some cheese into the salad, too (definitely do this is you’re skipping the corn cakes).
4. Make the vinaigrette: Finely chop the grill-roasted jalapeno using as many of the seeds as you like, keeping in mind that the more you use the spicier it will be. (This can be kept fairly mild if you skip using the seeds and veins but, if you’re feeding children sensitive to spicy foods, you may want to skip the jalapeno all together.) Whisk together jalapeno, lime juice, oil, honey, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper. Toss with salad.
5. Top corn cakes with salad. Garnish with crumbled cheese and cilantro. Enjoy!
Note: If you’re taking a liberal approach to food introductions, you can puree the corn salad (undressed or mixed with vinaigrette if it’s not spicy) for kids 6 mos. Or you can set aside naked corn and puree it on its own. Babies eating finger foods can also eat age-appropriate bite sized pieces of corn cake.
Have you been eating tons of corn, too? How do you enjoy it best?! Share your favorite ways to eat sweet summer corn. And, as always, enjoy!
Get more family-friendly recipes and tips on Stacie’s blog, One Hungry Mama. Kids change the way we cook, but they don’t have to change how well we eat.