August in New York City = so much great stuff at the farmer’s market. I’m particularly excited about corn – bushels and bushels of sweet, snappy, corn!
All you need to make corn delicious is salt, pepper and, if you’re normal and not me, butter, right? Sure. But two summers ago the Red Hook Ball Field vendors opened my eyes/mouth to something even more awesome that permanently changed my puritanical ways.
Crazy good!! Here’s the how-to, based on a little time spent watching the masters, a little research on the internet, and some practice.
1. COOK THE CORN
Grill it. Pull back husks and remove silk, then fold husks back up around the cob. Place ears in covered barbecue for about 25 minutes, turning occasionally. I’ve made the mistake of stripping everything away, and the corn ends up looking too much like the coals it’s cooking over. If you keep the husks, they’ll pull away and give you some lightly charred kernels without letting the whole ear burn. When you’re done, you can peel back the husk and tie in a knot to make a little corn handle for your prepping/eating convenience.
If you can’t grill it, boil it. Shuck the corn – leaving some stalk if possible for a handle – and drop the naked ears in a pot of boiling water (don’t add salt). Cover and let it cook for about four minutes. Good, fresh corn doesn’t need long!
If you want to be authentic, use Mexican crema (akin to sour cream or crème fraiche). You can get this at Latin markets or even make it yourself. If not, you can use mayonnaise. Yup!
NB: I hate gloopy/greasy white foods and used to fear this step. But this really brings it all together. Embrace the slather.
Sprinkle crumbled cotija (a hard, aged cow’s milk cheese, also available at Latin markets) over the ear as you’re turning it.
Real foodies, don’t hate me for saying this: If you can’t get the cotija, sub in grated parmesan or another sprinklable cheese.
Dust each ear with cayenne pepper. Squeeze a lime wedge over it.
Done! Eat it!!