Thursday, April 15, 2010

day two and skillet roasted corn

Born out of necessity during "the lost years", i.e. when I wore braces, the family favorite of skillet roasted corn was born. I will get to the recipe but first, let's revisit the whole braces wearing experience. My dentist always referred to my bite as "interesting" (you know, how when you find something not quite right so you tell someone it's "interesting"), but after the third broken tooth , clearly drastic measures were in order. Braces instead of a new vehicle, braces on my face as I sent my first child off to college and met all of her new friends, braces gracing my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and a family portrait for my parents. There are worse things, but I couldn't honestly tell you I enjoyed the process. Thankfully, Dr. Sondhi and Dr. Biggs did good work and they were off ahead of schedule two days before Christmas last year. One of the best Christmas presents ever.

Needless to say you can not enjoy corn on the cob with braces. So employ a good chef's knife (I love my Wusthoff Santoku knife), stand the corn on it's end in a bowl and slice the kernels off into the bowl. Or, grab a bag of the delicious organic super sweet corn from the freezer at Trader Joe's and you are ready to go.

Heat a large non-stick skillet* over a medium high flame and melt about 1 T of butter or 1 tsp of butter and 2 tsp of olive oil in the pan. Pour in the corn (4 ears or one bag) and saute a bit. After 5 to 10 minutes just let it sit over medium-medium high heat so it will brown. Stir it again and let it sit to brown a couple of times then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve. I have yet to overcook the corn and have had good results cooking it for 10-25 minutes.
Now let's make it better. Simply add chopped sweet onions when you add the corn and that makes it extra delicious. If peppers are your thing, add chopped green or red peppers (one pepper to one bag or 4 ears of corn is a good ratio) when you add the corn to the hot pan. Alternatively, a chopped and seeded fresh jalepeno pepper or a can of diced green chiles would perk it up too.

*Pan note: non-stick certainly makes life easier, but if I use my Le Crueset enameled cast iron casserole pan the browning it achieves is amazing. It can be worth the clean-up.

Now here's the recipe for the super-deluxe version I fixed last night along with grilling Chile Lime Chicken burgers from Trader Joe's. Let me tell you, those TJ's burgers from the freezer section (4 burgers to a box) are delicious.

Skillet Roasted Corn, Super-Deluxe Version

1 tsp butter
2 T olive oil
1 bag Trader Joe's Organic Super Sweet Corn (or any bag of sweet corn, or 4 fresh ears of kernels removed from the cob)
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 to 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 or 2 limes, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to melt the butter. Add the corn, onion and red pepper. Saute for 5-10 minutes. Stop stirring and let the mixture cook undisturbed for 5 minutes so it will brown. Stir again and let it cook and brown one or two more times. Add the black beans and heat another minute or two. Squeeze in one or two limes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro if desired.
Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

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