Maybe you’ve already noticed this on a recent trip to the farmers’ market — but corn has been looking particularly gorgeous lately. There’s a reason for this, of course: We’re in the midst of peak corn season! Not sure what to do with the fresh cobs other than shuck, boil and butter ‘em up? Don’t worry. We have ideas.
But first, we need to address a big corn paradox afflicting many households: Despite America’s obvious love for this sunny yellow grain (when we’re not mopping up barbecue with cornbread or corn muffins, we’re savoring sweet corn pudding… and maybe even the obligatory, annual state fair corn dog), it’s rare to see corn celebrated in its natural state. So, put down the canned creamed corn and the boxed muffin mix, and get ready rediscover just how sweet this summer crop can be.
Without further ado, here are five of our best summer dishes that call for fresh-off-the-cob kernels.
Corn Chowder (pictured above)
If you’re searching for a budget-friendly alternative to extravagant seafood chowders, look no further than this creamiest-ever corn soup. To cut through the richness of all that cream, Tyler Florence recommends cutting the kernels directly into your stock pot, adding a quick injection of texture and gorgeous yellow color.
Sweet Corn Pudding
This classic take on a Southern staple features the freshest summer corn suspended in a semi-sweet, semi-spicy and semi-cheesy custard. It’s the perfect barbecue sidekick — but we also love it heated up, with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream running down the sides.
Pappardelle with Corn
Fresh corn joins forces with juicy tomatoes and pungent basil to create a winning summer pasta dish that takes just 20 minutes to prepare. If you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner recipe to add to your rotation, this is it.
Fresh Corn Salad
Grilled fare calls for quick, seasonal salads, and Ina Garten’s fresh corn recipe delivers. It’s a simple mix of corn, diced red onion and basil — but the tangy cider vinegar dressing is essential in getting those produce flavors to really sing.
Mexican Street Corn
Add some intrigue to your usual grilled cobs by dressing them up with Sunny Anderson’s flavorful spice rub. Mayonnaise, chili powder, garlic salt and black pepper are combined and then rubbed directly onto the grilled corn, along with a spritz of fresh lime juice. Believe us, it’s a flavor bomb.