Northeast Times

Garden State grub

Jer­sey Corn: Make a pit stop on the Park­way and bring fresh pro­duce back from the Shore.

There’s something about fresh-picked corn (and to­ma­toes and peaches) at road­side stands in New Jer­sey that makes my car im­me­di­ately pull to the side of the road. Last week­end, on the ride home from the Shore, the signs read­ing “Fresh Corn - $2.99 a Dozen” forced me to make a bee-line to the road­side pro­duce stand. And I cer­tainly wasn’t dis­ap­poin­ted. Jer­sey corn is com­ing in­to sea­son, and ready for har­vest.

Without ques­tion, the best tast­ing corn is pulled, cooked and eaten the same day. If it is not pos­sible to eat the corn on the same day, keep it cool and re­fri­ger­ate it. Choose corn with very green husks, and a stalk that is not dry.

Be­ware of a “trimmed” stalk that may in­dic­ate only a fresh ap­pear­ance. Corn fresh from the fields tastes bet­ter be­cause the ker­nels have not had a chance to change their sug­ar con­tent to starch. This pro­cess starts to hap­pen im­me­di­ately when an ear of corn leaves the stalk.

North­east Philly res­id­ents are lucky be­cause of their close prox­im­ity to sub­urb­an and Jer­sey corn­fields and stands, which af­ford an op­por­tun­ity to en­joy corn at its best.

Corn on the cob can be boiled (salt in the wa­ter toughens the ker­nels), baked, mi­crowaved, bar­be­cued or roas­ted. Corn is also good in breads, chow­ders, pud­dings, rel­ishes, salads, muffins and frit­ters.

The fol­low­ing re­cipe for corn frit­ters is one that I have en­joyed since child­hood. It’s a good re­cipe to dis­patch those ex­tra ears of corn that may some­times grace your re­fri­ger­at­or. There were lit­er­ally bushels of corn avail­able at our house in Au­gust be­cause it was grown by my fath­er, Farm­er John. The fol­low­ing re­cipe bears his name, not be­cause he made those frit­ters, but be­cause he liked to eat them.

JOHN’S CORN FRIT­TERS

3 eggs, sep­ar­ated

3 cups corn (3 or 4 ears, cooked. Cut and scrape ker­nels from the cobs.)

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pep­per

5 Tb­sp. flour

Can­ola Spray

- Beat egg whites un­til stiff, and set aside.

- In a large bowl, beat egg yolks un­til light.

- Add corn, salt, pep­per and flour to the beaten yolks.

- Fold the stiffly beaten egg whites in­to the corn mix­ture.

- Spray a large fry­ing pan or skil­let with can­ola oil spray.

- Drop corn mix­ture by large spoon­fuls onto the hot pan or skil­let.

- Fry frit­ters like pan­cakes so they are lightly browned on both sides.

- Serve with syr­up, molasses or honey.

Frit­ters are es­pe­cially good when served with saus­age as a light din­ner or brunch. They are also a good com­pan­ion to kiel­basa, ham, ba­con or fish. 

Leftover corn mixed with lima beans makes great suc­co­tash. Leftover corn is also good cut from the cob and heated with salt, pep­per and but­ter. As an al­tern­at­ive, try the fol­low­ing re­cipe.

SPICY CORN

3 or 4 ears of cooked corn - (Cut and scrape ker­nels from the cobs.)

2 Tb­sp. olive oil

¼ cup Parmes­an cheese

1 clove gar­lic, minced

1 Tb­sp. lime juice

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. Frank’s Hot Sauce or Ta­basco Sauce

¼ cup fresh cil­antro, chopped

Salt and Pep­per to taste

- Re­move ker­nels from cob and put in­to mi­crowavable serving bowl.

- Whisk to­geth­er oil, cheese, gar­lic, lime juice, cumin and hot sauce.

- Add to corn and mix.

- Heat one minute in mi­crowave. Stir. Heat an­oth­er minute.  

- Add salt and pep­per to taste.

- Stir in cil­antro and serve.     

Corn or maize, as it is called in some European coun­tries, is a nat­ive Amer­ic­an crop. Sup­posedly, a group of pil­grims led by Miles Standish first found corn plants and re­cor­ded this dis­cov­ery on Nov. 16, 1620. The In­di­ans were already pop­ping corn then, prob­ably un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Chief Or­ville Re­den­bach­er.

In cornclu­sion, the fol­low­ing far-fetched folk­lore from Shingling the Fog and Oth­er Plains Lies is a really hot story: “A farm­er was plow­ing corn with a team of mules. It got so hot the corn began pop­ping. The mules thought it was snow, so they froze to death.” Be­lieve it or not? That’s about as corny as it gets!

If you’re won­der­ing if we will have a winter sim­il­ar to last year’s, check the corn fields. Ac­cord­ing to my dad, “When the ears of corn grow high on the stalk, ex­pect deep snow that fol­low­ing winter.” I’ll get back to you on that one.

Eat Well, Live long, en­joy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at What­cook­in­NEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 3412 Pro­gress Drive, Suite C, Ben­s­alem, PA 19020)

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