Kitchen Wit and Wisdom: Corn off the cob

Corn on the cob. Yum! It is the season and there is corn for sale everywhere; albeit a little late this year.

Corn on the cob. Yum! It is the season and there is corn for sale everywhere; albeit a little late this year.

The corn we eat, sweet corn, is a maize with a high sugar content that is picked in the milky stage before the corn matures by converting its sugars to starch.

Sweet corn stores poorly and must be eaten fresh before the kernels become tough and starchy as many of us have frustratingly experienced with imported corn, for instance.

An average cob of corn contains about 75 calories and has significant antioxidants which quench free radicals helping to prevent disease. What you lose in vitamin C by cooking, you gain in ferulic acid and antioxidant activity, so it’s not only a delicious vegetable it is also good for you.

My favourite way of eating fresh corn is fresh on the cob with butter and salt, but for a change, try today’s recipes with fresh local corn or in the winter using the corn you freeze.

2 red bell peppers

2 tomatoes

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 tsp. salt

1 sprig rosemary (about 3-inches/8 cm long)

4 cups fresh corn kernels (can use frozen, thaw first)

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)

Char whole red peppers, on grill or under broiler, until skins are blackened; place in bowl, and cover and let cool. Leaving stem intact, peel; slit side and scoop out seeds. Let cool. Meanwhile, char whole tomatoes, on grill or under broiler, until skins are blackened; let cool. Peel and chop red peppers; peel, seed and chop tomatoes. in a skillet. Heat oil over medium-low heat; fry garlic and salt until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add peppers and tomatoes; cover and simmer, stirring often, until mixture is saucy and peppers are very soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Add rosemary, corn and 3/4 cup water; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over medium heat until corn is tender, 5-8 minutes. Remove rosemary, stir in paprika (if using). Makes 6-8 servings.

1 lb. fresh (or frozen), shelled, deveined shrimp

2 tbsp. butter

2 cups corn kernels

1 tsp. dried thyme leaves (1 tbsp. fresh)

2 cloves garlic

1 lime

1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper

Place shrimp in a colander and rinse under cold water. If using frozen shrimp, rinse until ice crystals have melted. Drain well and pat dry on paper towels. Melt butter in skillet set over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, corn, thyme, and garlic. Stir-fry for five minutes or until shrimp is bright pink. Halve lime and juice half. Stir lime juice, salt and pepper into shrimp. Taste and add more lime, salt or pepper as necessary. Slice remaining line into wedges. Garnish with lime wedges on the side.

–– Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s cooking columnist.