By Ken DeLaat
While I applauded the arrival of asparagus,celebrated the season of sumptuous strawberries and cheered on the cherries there was yet one harvest I was awaiting with as much patience as one could generally muster.
I’m talking corn of course.
Mitten-made and infused with a flavor so strikingly superior to even the closest substitute (Indiana not bad, Florida awful) locally grown sweet corn is truly an a ‘maize’ ing gastronomical gift bestowed upon the fortunate bi-peninsular types who reside in these parts.
And now it has arrived.
Personally the season doesn’t truly begin until the sign goes up on Maple Island indicating the golden treasures created at the Kokx farm have arrived and are nestled in their stands.
Today was Opening Day and, overcoming all obstacles, I managed to find my way there in the late morning.
I scored a dozen.
Driving home I recalled the initial season opening dozen and a half from a year ago when Lil had some out of town meetings. She ended up being late for the first serving when I cooked up 6 figuring she would have one or two. She didn’t feel like corn when arriving home at 10:30pm so those extras became partners with some fruit for my morning repast (yes, love it cold).
The next day we shared the second half dozen (Lil had one) and I tossed in 4 extras to have on hand for an afternoon snack the next day (yes, cold).
That left two and while Lil enjoys the occasional ear she is not wild about a successive string of meals when corn is taking center stage, so I had them as a late night snack. 3 days 17 ears.
Without a single shred of shame.
My late father was my sweet corn mentor and helped develop a discriminating palate when it comes to selecting the finest strain for taste and texture.
“And when you find the right place?” he once told me with an elevated tone of seriousness. “Keep going back. Oh, make sure you test drive a few other sites from time to time just for comparison (Dad was a car guy) but when you discover that one spot, the place that never lets you down?
“Keep going back.”
While there are likely to be many multi-generational corn aficionados out there,here are a few tips that have been passed along this family’s route.
The yellow and white corn blend seems to provide the most consistently flavorful experience.
Don’t cook it too long. Some say 7 minutes in boiling water while we tend to opt for 5. 5 seems to deliver the right texture and doesn’t cook out the taste.
Others prefer grilling a method that has led to enjoyable feasts at the tables of others however I have never managed to master this approach and don’t wish to experiment with such precious items.
Of course some will use the microwave which to me is just...I don’t know…. wrong, I guess.
Unless you eat it straight and right out of the pan with no frills,don’t use margarine or similar substitutes. If you’re going to grease up your ear then give it real butter simply because exceptional food deserves of a certain level of respect and it aint coming from bluebonnet et al.
Salt is optional as well of course. Personally a small sprinkling (along with a smidge of pepper when the mood strikes) tends to enhance the experience, but this is up to you and your blood pressure I assume.
And lastly, if you haven’t, give it a chance cold.
Admittedly my father also passed along an affection for a chillier version of food traditionally served warm or hot. This was a boon during college years when my first meal of the day usually consisted of either cold pizza or cold spaghetti since one could be purchased and the other was the sole dish in my cooking repertoire.
But back to corn.
Cold, buttered and sprinkled with a little salt.
When you think about it it’s really not that different from corn flakes I guess.
Except for the butter.
And the salt.
And no milk.
Anyway, now it’s time to give the new crop a trial run before presenting them to Lil for tonight’s dinner.
Three oughta do it.
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