Corn: a nutritious and delicious garden delight

Many of us eat corn for its fresh, bright flavour and sweet juices. It’s also a convenient and fun finger food to eat at picnics and family barbecues.

But corn also contains many essential nutrients. It is an excellent source of antioxidants; it contains folate, helpful in fighting heart disease; it is high in thiamine, helpful in carbohydrate metabolism; and it is a strong booster of energy and cognitive functions.

Corn is also high in vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, and it’s high in insoluble fibre that helps prevent constipation, colon cancer and reduces cholesterol.

Low carbohydrate diets, like the Keto Diet, are popular at the moment, so corn is sometimes shunned. People think it is high in sugar but it contains less than half the amount of sugar as a banana.

One cob of corn is considered to be one vegetable serving. It contains about 125 calories.

Corn salad with feta

  • 4 cobs corn grilled and kernels removed
  • 1/2 c. feta, crumbled 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. sweet or hot pickled red peppers, roughly chopped 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. thinly sliced onion, preferably red onion 30 mL
  • 1/2 c. chopped chives 125 mL
  • vinaigrette dressing, to taste

Toss the first five ingredients together and drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss again. Add more vinaigrette if necessary. Serve on lettuce. Serves four.

Basic vinaigrette

  • 1/4 c. red wine vinegar 60 mL
  • 3/4 c. olive oil 175 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard 2 mL
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to a jar and shake to mix and form an emulsion.

The basic recipe is one part vinegar or lemon juice to three parts oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Any vinegar can be used but white vinegar is the least appealing. It is preferable to use red or white wine vinegar or cider vinegar. The oil can be vegetable oil, canola or olive oil.
Adding mustard helps it to form an emulsion. Add additional flavour with honey, herbs and spices of your choice.
Store leftover vinaigrette in the refrigerator.

Creamy corn pasta with basil

This is a creamy sauce but without any cream. The chili flakes can be served on the table if someone in the family doesn’t like them. Make this in the winter with frozen corn.

  • kosher salt
  • 12 oz. dry orecchiette or farfalle pasta 340 g
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling 15 mL
  • 2 tbsp. finely diced onion 30 mL
  • 2 c. corn, shucked and kernels removed 500 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper 2 mL
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter 45 mL
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese 125 mL
  • 1/3 c. torn basil or mint, more for garnish 75 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste 1 mL
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Cook pasta until one minute short of al dente, according to the package directions.
Drain, reserving 1/2 cup (125 mL) of pasta water.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt and cook until soft for about three minutes. Add 1/4 cup (60 mL) water and 1 3/4 cup (425 mL) of the corn.
Simmer until corn is heated through and almost tender, three to five minutes.
Add 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) each of salt and pepper, transfer to a blender, and puree mixture until smooth. Add a little extra water if needed to get a thick but pourable texture.
Heat the same skillet over high heat. Add butter and let melt. It’s OK if the butter browns but don’t let it burn.

Add reserved 1/4 cup (60 mL) corn and cook until tender, one to two minutes. Add the corn puree and cook for 30 seconds to heat and combine the flavours. Scrape all the browned bits that stuck to the pan.
Reduce heat to medium.
Add pasta and half the reserved pasta cooking water, tossing to coat. Cook for one minute, then add a little more of the pasta cooking water if the mixture seems too thick.
Stir in 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the chives, the Parmesan, basil or mint, red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) salt and 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) pepper. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to taste.
Serve immediately and garnish with more herbs, a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper. Serves four.
Adapted from Melissa Clark with the New York Times.

Corn fritters

Grilled corn will add a subtle smoky flavour to the fritters but raw or frozen corn kernels can also be used.<

  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour 175 mL
  • 2 tbsp. yellow cornmeal 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. sugar 15 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 7 mL
  • coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne 1 mL
  • 1/2 c. whole milk 125 mL
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 c. corn kernels
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • honey for serving

In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) salt and cayenne.
Whisk egg and milk together and add to the flour mixture. Stir until all the flour is incorporated.
Add corn kernels and mix to combine.
Heat four inches (10 cm) oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over high heat until it reaches 375 F (190 C).

  • Use a deep-fry thermometer for this. Working in batches and using a small ice cream scoop or two spoons, drop a tablespoon of batter into the oil at a time. Do not crowd the pot or the temperature will fall. Cook, turning the fritters occasionally until they are cooked through and deep golden brown on all sides.
    Use a slotted spoon to remove the fritters from the oil and drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and serve immediately with honey. Makes 18 to 20 fritters. Adapted from Martha Stewart.

    Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

 

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