Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What We're Buying at the Farmer's Market This Week: Corn

The hottest summer on record since 1936 means it’s been a difficult year for corn in many parts of the U.S. the Midwest especially but it hasn’t all been bad news. Usually farmers have to wait for their corn to dry or dry it with big, industrial-strength blowers, but this year’s high temperatures did the work for them so the harvest is ahead of schedule and while there was some damage, about a quarter of the national crop has been rated good to excellent, so there are still sweet, juicy cobs to be had in most places albeit at higher prices than usual.

When buying corn, look for a bright green husks with moisture. You can pull back a bit of the husk to see if the ear looks well filled. If it’s corn from your garden, pierce a kernel with your thumb nail. If the liquid inside is watery it’s not ready, but if it’s milky, it’s good to go. White corn is sweeter than yellow, while many cobs will feature a mix of both colors. Some corn aficionados say yellow corn has more of a “corny” flavor while others prefer the sweetness of white.  

We love Simply Recipe’s straightforward approach to grilling corn and this spicy corn frittata from the Food Network is another good way to prepare late summer corn while without having to turn on the oven. These farmstand corn fritters with sweet chili sauce pair beautifully with our J California Pinot Gris. The fresh citrus notes of the wine play perfectly against the sweetness and the mild spice notes of the dish. 
Farmstand corn fritters w/ sweet chili sauce and icy cold glass of J California Pinot Gris
The same is true of Pamela Salzman’s elote-inspired “corn off the cob” with smoked paprika and crumbled Cotija.  If you’re making something heartier like this fresh corn risotto with parmesan, try a chardonnay instead.

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