Sweet on Corn

You can’t drive anywhere in our beautiful county at the moment without seeing fields of sweet corn ears standing tall and straight, waiting for harvest. As a child, I loved nothing better than freshly picked corn on the cob, hot from the pan, and dripping with melted butter which ran down my chin as I bit into the soft, sweet, yet crunchy kernels…. Foodily nostalgic excesses aside, harvest season is an amazing time for produce, with sweetcorn right up there among the best.

Although thought of as a vegetable, it’s actually a grain, albeit one with almost as much protein and fat in its profile as there is carbohydrate. The sunny yellow colour is an indication of its antioxidant benefits, and phenolic flavonoids, which along with vitamins A, C and E, B complex, zinc, manganese, copper, iron, magnesium and fibre, provide support to skin, membranes and energy production while protecting against inflammation. Sweet corn’s phytonutrients have shown promise in directly inhibiting an enzyme that causes high blood pressure, as well as in research into mouth cancers – another indication of the importance of eating a wide range of fresh foods, all with unique profiles and benefits.

So, is it just corn on the cob, with all that butter, that we should be enjoying now? Cut your kernels from the cob as ancient American cultures often did before cooking to create a world of alternatively delicious ways to enjoy this seasonal wonder. I love it with a caramelised accent and fresh herbs – try this simple method for a treat of a side dish this week!

Corn with Herbs

1 ear of corn per person

rapeseed oil

thinly sliced onion and crushed garlic, to taste

a little water

herbs of choice – I love sage, thyme or rosemary (or all three!) – thinly sliced, to taste

Sea salt (Cornish smoked sea salt if you can get it)

Carefully cut the kernels away from the cobs by running a knife down the length all around – this is better done before cooking or the kernels are too soft and end up mushy! Heat some oil in a pan and cook off the onions. Just as the onions begin to caramelise, add the corn, stirring around to colour slightly, then add a little water so that the corn is steam frying, then lower the heat and gently cook for a few minutes. When the corn is tender, and the water has evaporated, turn the heat up slightly, and add the garlic and fresh herbs. Stir to release the aromatic oils, cooking for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with smoked sea salt, and serve.

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