Sunday, June 22, 2008
Grilled Corn Salsa
There's nothing like fresh corn just picked from the field, but unfortunately, unless you live on a farm or have access to a farmers' market where the the corn is picked fresh that day, you have to devise ways to retain that just picked flavor. A few years ago, I read that adding a splash of milk to the water before boiling the corn was a way to revive the just picked sweetness. You added the corn to the boiling water milk mixture, let it come back to a boil, cook for 7 minutes, turn off the heat; cover and let sit for 7 to 8 more minutes. The corn was perfectly cooked and stayed hot until the rest of the meal was ready. It worked for years and my corn was always tender and sweet. Wanting to try a different method, I pulled the husks back, stripped the corn of the silks, then pulled the husks back over the corn and tied it with butchers string. I soaked the corn in a pan of water for 10 minutes. The ears of corn were then roasted in a 375 ° oven for 20 minutes. Much better flavor, but too much prep time and dealing with the husks just before the meal was a pain. I wanted some smoky flavor to the corn, so grilled it using the same method. The corn was good, but no smoky flavor.
I was stuck at home one day waiting on a delivery, so thought I would experiment with some fresh corn I had just bought at the little vegetable stand nearby. In the past, I have always turned to Cooks Illustrated for answers on cooking techniques. The Cooks Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue is one of the best books out there on grilling with charcoal and gas. My answer was there for tender corn with the added smokiness. To prepare the corn for grilling, remove all but the inner layers of the husks. The kernels should be visible through these thin layers of the husk. With scissors, snip off the tassel close to the tip of the ear. Preheat a gas grill on medium heat. The grill is ready for the corn when you can hold your hand over the grate for 5 seconds. Grill the corn for about 8-10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, until the darker outlines of the kernels show through the husk. The husk will be charred and will begin to peel away at the tip showing the corn kernels. Remove the corn from the grill, peel away the husks and silk and season as desired. To make the corn salsa, I didn't season this batch of corn. Next time, I grill corn for a meal, I will hold back a few ears unseasoned to make the grilled corn salsa.
Fresh corn will retain that fresh flavor if you place the ears husks on in a wet paper bag and then in a plastic bag.
Grilled Corn Salsa
2 ears grilled, unseasoned corn, kernels cut from cobs (about 1 cup)
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced small
1 medium scallion, sliced thin
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 medium jalapeno chile, seeds and ribs removed, then minced
1 small garlic clove, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Toss and adjust seasonings. The salsa can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Makes about 2 cups. For more salsas, check out a recent post here.
From The Cooks Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue
Gadget by The Blog Doctor.