Fresh Corn Salad and Chowder- yumm

Summer isn’t quite summer unless there’s fresh sweet corn. Corn on the cob from the farmers market — yellow, white or bi-color — is so tasty. Yet sometimes that buttered cob can be a bit too routine, too predictable. So here are two delicious ways to eat fresh sweet corn off the cob  –  a salad and a soup. For the salad, the corn can be cooked several days ahead and refrigerated. For the soup, no advance cooking is needed.

Fresh Corn & Cherry Tomato Salad
Makes 4 – 6 servings*

This easy salad has been in my repertoire for years. The combination of fresh corn and sweet little tomatoes may not be new, but it’s always a winner. Mild, seasoned rice vinegar adds a gentle tang, so very little oil is needed. Healthy!

3     ears fresh corn*
       Large bowl of water and ice
1     lb. cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
1/4   cup each chopped fresh basil, mint and flat-leaf parsley*
3     Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1     Tbsp. canola or safflower oil
       Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

Shuck corn and cook a couple minutes less than you would to eat it on the cob.* Submerge cooked ears in ice water to “kill the cook”. Drain and refrigerate until ready to make salad.

Cut kernels from corn and place in a medium bowl; kernels do not have to be all separated. Cut tomatoes into halves; add to corn. Stir in chopped herbs. Sprinkle with seasoned rice vinegar, oil, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Taste and stir in more vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Serve as is, or add to a tossed green salad.

* Kitchen Notes:
– It’s best to under-cook corn a bit for salads, so the corn has some crunch. The microwave cooking method is great for salads: Place un-shucked ears in microwave and cook on high 4-5 minutes. Let cool another 5 minutes or so, then remove silk and husks. Place in ice water to chill before making salad. Or refrigerate to use later. Or: Use leftover corn from a previous meal. That’s how this recipe was originally conceived.
– Substitute cilantro for the parsley if you prefer.
– Double the recipe to make 8-10 servings, using 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar and 2 Tbsp oil.

Fresh Corn Chowder

Fresh Corn Chowder with Browned Butter & Bitters 

Makes 6 servings (1-1/3 cup each)  

Say hello to fresh corn chowder! Bitters and browned butter add a distinctive flavor that gives this soup a melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.

4     ears fresh corn (to make 4 cups kernels)
3     cups vegetable broth*
2     cups whole milk
1     tsp. Angostura aromatic bitters
4     Tbsp. butter
1     cup diced yellow onion
1     cup diced ham
1/4  cup flour
       Fresh-ground black pepper
1     cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (4-5 oz.)
1/3  cup fresh basil chiffonade*

Shuck the corn. Cut off stem to make a flat end. Stand corn on end and use a sharp knife to cut kernels from cobs (see photo below). Measure about 4 cups kernels; set aside. Stir together broth, milk, and bitters; set aside.

In a 6-quart pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Allow butter to bubble gently, stirring occasionally, until butter is light to medium brown. Add onions; stir and cook 3-4 minutes or until onions just start to brown. Stir in ham and continue to cook about 2 minutes more. Sprinkle in flour and gradually add broth mixture, stirring and scraping bottom of pot. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in corn, and black pepper to taste. Partially cover pot and simmer 15 minutes. Remove chowder from heat; stir in cheese and basil.

* Kitchen Notes:
– Substitute chicken broth if you prefer.
– Chiffonade is thin strips or shreds. To prepare, stack large basil leaves one on top of the other, roll up and cut across into strips, then cut strips in half. Or simply chop the basil.
– Corn kernels do not have to be separated once off the cob. That will happen naturally while cooking.

4 thoughts on “Fresh Corn Salad and Chowder- yumm”

  • Fresh corn in the summer is absolutely the best! I cut the kernels off two cobs last night and did a light quick sauté with zucchini, tomatoes, and mozzarella to toss with some pasta for dinner. It was so so good. What a genius idea to add bitters to the chowder!!!

    • Corn, zucchini, tomatoes – great match-up this time of year. I add bitters to SO many different foods (great in gravies – beef, chicken +). In my long culinary career, bitters is the most interesting flavor enhancer I’ve ever encountered. It’s widely used in food throughout the Caribbean, Australia ++

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