Winter is drawing to a close, which means “Claire talking about corn season” is similarly on its way out the door and into the sunset (but only for one calendar year). But, until then, the corn is still plentiful and sweet, and I will continue to eat it, cook it, and share all of my corniest thoughts with you as they pop into my head.
Last night, as I was making a lovely raw corn salad with cherry tomatoes from my friend’s garden, I sliced the kernels from the cob, and noticed that my knife was dripping with corn juice. Usually — if I’m making fried corn or corn soup or creamed corn — I scrape the juice and any left-behind corn bits into the dish without a second thought, but I’d never added them to a salad.
Turns out, this was a big mistake. (Huge.) Those juices contain sugar and starch, which are both quite valuable. The sugar adds a fresh, light sweetness, and the starch mixes with whatever dressing you’re using, helping it cling the kernels (and any other vegetables in your salad). Milking the cobs into my salad made it even cornier, and that summer sweetness shined through in every bite.
It was very good, is what I’m saying, and my point is you should always milk your cobs, no matter what you’re making. It’s very easy to do. Just take your knife, scrape the cob with the blade to remove any left-behind kernels and the juices trapped within, then add it to your soup/salad/casserole/creamed corn.
You may think that you are done with your cobs at that point, but you would be mistaken. Boil those bad boys to make a golden stock that’s a perfect base for risotto, chowder, sauces, and — obviously — grits. You could also sip the corn stock from a mug, depending on how into corn you are. I, as we all know, am very into it.