Ingredient Of The Week: Making The Very Best Of The Very Last Of The Summer Corn

October 11, 2011 


by Claire Lassam | My grandfather is not a picky eater. As product of the Great Depression, he will eat just about anything without fuss. But he is fussy about corn. He grows it in his backyard and when dinner is entirely cooked and the pot of water is at a roaring boil, he goes out into the and picks it himself. Then, and only then, does he cook it. It doesn’t cook for very long, and when it’s done he pulls it out and slathers it with butter (the only thing I’ve ever seen him slather butter on, likely again a Depression habit). And then we eat it. That’s just how it’s done.

That corn was so good, so fresh, so sweet, and so flavourful. It is, to this day, the best corn I’ve ever had. It might even be my favourite vegetable. And I think I’m not alone in that because BC produces 18 million kilos of corn every year. Living in Vancouver, when we think of corn we naturally think of Chilliwack, but it does grow all over southern BC.

When I started working in restaurants I realized that there were other ways of cooking corn. It was a small revelation to me, to have it any other way besides boiled with butter. I’ve had it grilled in tacos, baked in popovers, creamed and sauteed. I’ve fallen in love with succotash, and I’ve become enamoured with corn chowder. And man, do I ever have a crush on cornbread! If I’m being honest here I’m not sure I’ve ever really had any preparation of corn that I haven’t liked.

So where can you get the best corn in the city? La Taqueria has a creamed corn taco, the sweetness of which does a little dance with poblano peppers and Mexican cheese. I haven’t tried the corn ice cream at West yet, but pastry chef Rhonda Viani has yet to do wrong by me. And, of course, Hawksworth has it on their tasting menu with halibut cheeks. They have kindly given us the recipe, which is – surprisingly – so easy (the corn, if not the halibut if you are familiar with sous vide) that you can make it at home and enjoy a final taste of summer as the leaves fall around you.

The Farmers Market is definitely where you’ll snag the sweetest and juiciest pieces, but most green grocers in the city are selling it still. Just look for plump pieces with the kernels still full all the way to the tip. Work the recipe after the jump… Read more