Quick, quick, make haste! Rush to the market this weekend and grab some corn – there’s still some left! We’ve a few precious summer weekends left and then, it’s autumn. Sundresses will be replaced by sweaters; sandals – by boots. I’ve been eying some corduroy pants and scarves. I’m going to learn how to wear scarves in that carefree, insouciant manner that suggests that I have style. My iced tea will yield to hot cider and piping hot coffee. There will be lots of soup coming out of the Sassy Radish kitchen, so get ready. I’ve got plans, people, and I mean to see them through.
At the market, things will change as well. Berries will make way for apples, pumpkin and squash. There will be some late harvest tomatoes and, eventually, root vegetables. And I’m excited for it all, but I know, for a fact, that there are a few summer dishes I am going to miss. But this corn – this corn I could eat every day.
The best thing about eating around the seasons is that you learn how to properly miss a specific food. You savor it better, celebrate each time you spy it at the farmer’s market, run back home with your loot and lay it out on your kitchen counter. I make an exception for tomatoes. If they were in season year round, I would be in heaven. Part of the reason you don’t see many tomato recipes around here, is because they almost never make it into a cooked dish. I devour them whole, sprinkled with a little bit of salt, eaten with a rustic piece of bread.
But today is not about tomatoes – it’s about corn. Sweet, warm corn sauteed in a bit of cream, and tossed with some feta, cilantro, and mint, and then brightened with lime juice. It’s really, unbelievably good, and is delightfully unfussy. Which is sort of the best thing about produce at the peak of season. You need to do so little to make it shine.
When I served this at one of the suppers on Sunday, we had a few visitors over: Andrew’s younger brother and friend from Chicago. Andrew’s friend, after chewing a few forkfuls, proudly declared that this was the best corn he ever had, and then reached for a second helping! And he’s from the midwest – where people know their corn. Frankly, I also thought it was pretty good. So good in fact, that it might be my favorite summer way to eat corn, outside the traditional on-the-cob method.
I’m hoping to make it again this weekend as a sort of a last hurrah to summer and to corn. Were I not completely and hopelessly in love with fall and its bounty, I would be sad, but I am excited in anticipation of what the next season will bring. I’ve made a list of things I want to make – a list that far exceeds the number of days in the season itself, but that’s a rather high quality problem to have. I’ve a few more summer meals coming my way, and I will savor each and every bite.
Corn with Feta, Cilantro, and Lime
12 ears corn, shucked, corn cut off the cob
2 tbsp butter
6 oz crumbled feta
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp mint, finely chopped
1/2 cup cream
Juice of 1 lime
Shuck the corn and cut off the kernels off the cobs. To do this you must hold the cob perpendicular to the cutting board and with a chef’s knife, in a smooth, decisive manner, cut down the cob. It will get a little messy. You will get some kernels on the floor, and that’s okay.
Toss feta, cilantro and mint together in a large salad bowl, and set aside.
Over medium heat, melt the butter with a couple of glugs of olive oil in a large skillet and toss in the corn. Stir to coat the corn in butter and oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat fora bout 5 minutes, until some of the kernels begin to brown, but overall the corn retains its firm, crisp texture. Add a teaspoon of salt. Pour the cream over the corn and cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat.
Combine corn with the feta and herb mixture, and add the lime juice as well. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper. Serve warm.