Cherry and grape tomatoes are in abundance by late August, as is fresh corn and herbs. So this “clean-out-the-larder” approach helps you use up some of the excess staples and fresh produce in a tasty way.
It starts with a roasted cherry-tomato sauce that includes garlic, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to add a slightly sweet note. To scale back on the sweetness, switch the balsamic to red wine vinegar and reduce or omit the brown sugar.
On occasion, we have already cooked ears of corn leftover from a previous meal. Here’s a chance to use them up. Cut the kernels off the cobs and add them to boiling water when you toss in the dried fusilli.
Once the pasta is done, plate into a large serving bowl and stir in the pesto—we used a homemade sage pesto* but one made with basil will work just as well. Next fold in the tomato mixture and let guests scoop out a serving, passing the grated parmesan around for topping. A side salad makes a nice companion to the pasta and uses up more of your produce.
*FOR THE SAGE PESTO: • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted • 2 garlic cloves, minced • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves • ½ cup fresh sage leaves • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil • 1 oz. (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for serving • Salt and pepper Pulse pine nuts and garlic in food processor until coarsely chopped, about 5 pulses. Add parsley and sage; with processor running, slowly add oil and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to bowl, stir in Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
1 or 2 ears of corn, cooked with kernels cut off the cob
1⁄4 cup fresh basil or sage pesto (see recipe above)
1 lb. whole wheat fusilli, cooked according to package directions
Grated Parmesan for topping
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Mix together tomatoes and garlic in a nonreactive 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
Whisk together oil, vinegar, thyme, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Drizzle over tomato mixture.
Bake until tomatoes are softened and caramelized, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Meanwhile cook the fusilli according to package directions, adding the corn kernels in with the pasta when the water starts to boil. Time it so the pasta is done at about the same time as the tomatoes.
Mix the pesto into the fusilli and corn and fold in the tomato mixture.
Serve, passing around the grated parmesan for topping.
With the last gasps of the unofficial summer calendar closing in on us, let the season’s bounty shine on the plate. And to that end, this lively salad of corn, scallions, jalapeño and avocado tossed with a tangy buttermilk-feta dressing is like summer on a plate. The sweetness of peak-summer corn and the richness of creamy avocado balance out the tartness of the dressing.
While this recipe from NYTimes Cooking could be a side dish or a vegetarian main, we opted to add a protein to give it more heft as an entrée. In that vein, we grilled some chicken breasts with a Japanese 7-spice rub, but grilled shrimp or salmon would work wonderfully also. And to save time on dinner day, we grilled the chicken the day before while barbecuing other items.
The directions below are for the full recipe which allows for 4 to 6 portions. But with just the two of us, we cut most of the recipe in half, while altering quantities of other ingredients as we saw fit. After eating two healthy servings, we still had some leftover for lunch the following day.
Grilled Corn, Avocado and Chicken Salad With Feta Dressing
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, rubbed with spices of your choice (optional)
6 ears corn (about 3 lbs.), shucked and silk removed
1 bunch scallions, trimmed
1 jalapeño, stemmed and halved lengthwise
3 Tbsp.olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
⅓ cup buttermilk
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest plus 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, grated
¼ cup sliced fresh chives
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 medium head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
2 avocados, sliced
If a protein is desired, grill chicken (or shrimp, salmon) until done. This can be done a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.
Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high. Brush corn, scallions and jalapeño with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until corn kernels are browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes, and the scallions and jalapeño are charred all over and tender, 9 to 10 minutes.
Transfer vegetables to a cutting board and let cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, using a whisk (I used a pestle), mash the feta into a coarse paste. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest and juice and garlic, then stir in chives and parsley.
Finely chop the charred jalapeño and stir it into the feta dressing; season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss lettuce with half the feta dressing and arrange on a platter. Cut corn kernels off the cob and slice scallions into bite-size pieces. Arrange avocado slices, corn and scallions on top of the lettuce.
To create this corn side dish with rich, toasted flavor, strip the corn from the cobs when they are raw and then cook the kernels in a nearly smoking skillet. It is important not to stir the corn for a few minutes to give it a chance to brown. Once the corn is cooked, mix in plenty of salty, savory ingredients to balance the sweetness. Finally, an acidic component rounds out the dish.
Because fresh corn can vary in sweetness, the recipe calls for seasoning with a range of rice vinegar. We made it twice so far, and prefer the version with just 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar. When browning the corn kernels in a nonstick skillet, we found it took longer to get that caramelization, nearly three times longer! But so worth it because it was delicious and paired well with our grilled baby back ribs.
6 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin on bias
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. white miso
1 – 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (4 cups)
1 Tbsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
Melt butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add scallion whites and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until scallions are softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer scallion mixture to large bowl and whisk in miso and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Wipe out skillet.
Heat oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add corn and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, without stirring, until corn is browned on bottom and beginning to pop, about 3-5 minutes. Stir and continue to cook, stirring once or twice, until corn is spotty brown all over, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Add mirin and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Transfer corn to bowl with scallion mixture.
Stir in scallion greens. Season with salt and remaining vinegar to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
Although summer produce season was nearing its end, we easily scored some fresh corn and zucchini to make this flavorful Spiced Chicken with Corn, Mushrooms and Zucchini. It’s a one pan meal that’s ready in a total of 45 minutes. Cooked in a skillet, the spiced chicken takes on a brick-red hue with a moderately spicy kick. (You can adjust the amount of heat by adding or eliminating the amount of cayenne.)
Here gochugaru—Korean red chile flakes—imbues this one-skillet chicken and vegetable supper with its deep, savory flavor, gentle heat and a hint of smokiness. But don’t fret if you can’t find gochugaru, just substitute ancho chile powder, regular chili powder or chipotle chile powder (or choice) for a delicious but different taste profile. Add more cayenne or eliminate it to adjust the level of heat, which is moderate as written. (Gochugaru can be found at Asian markets, well stocked supermarkets or online.)
I got carried away and pounded the chicken breasts down to a 1/4″ instead of the indicated 1/2″. Not a problem as long as the meat is not overcooked and dried out. Adjust the cooking time so that the poultry registers 160°, then move to a plate and cover with foil.
The amount of chicken we made was over 1 1/2 pounds, which when hammered down made 4 large cutlets, and therefore had to be cooked in 2 batches. Once the veggies are done, pour the accumulated chicken juices into the pan and stir to distribute.
Yes, you can make this meal with frozen corn, but you will suffer from a loss of flavor. This summer was THE BEST corn season we’ve experienced in a long time. And this last batch in particular was astoundingly sweet and juicy!
2 Tbsp. canola oil or another neutral oil, divided
8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms or a mix of mushrooms such as shiitake, oyster and/or cremini, sliced
2 to 3 Tbsp. water, plus more as needed
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts, plus dark greens for garnish
1 Tbsp. minced or finely grated fresh ginger
1 medium zucchini (8 ounces), trimmed, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
3-4 ears of corn, kernels sliced from cob
In a small bowl, combine the gochugaru, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the granulated garlic and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture onto both sides of the chicken, rubbing it in a little with your fingers.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the chicken to the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, followed by the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the water if the pan seems dry, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the scallions and ginger and cook until they soften, about 1 minute.
Add the zucchini, corn and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. If the pan seems dry, add more water as needed, a couple of tablespoons at a time.
Pour any accumulated juices from the chicken into the pan with the vegetables, and then slice the chicken into strips.
Serve the vegetables with the sliced chicken on top or on the side.
With the end of corn season drawing to a close, you may be thinking what else could you make with freshly picked maize? Sweet corn is the most common variety of maize eaten directly off the cob. The ear is picked while the endosperm is in the “milk stage” so that the kernels are still tender. How about Mexican Sweet Corn Cake?
For starters, it is only slightly sweet, moist and nothing like cornbread, which is denser and cornier. The texture is softer and more velvety than cake. A hint of corn flavor, but less than you expect and a suggestion of sweetness without being sweet. Interested now?
According to Milk Street where we found this recipe, this simple baked treat is ubiquitous in Mexican food markets, street stalls and restaurants. Its texture lands somewhere between cake and cornbread while hinting at custard. In Mexico City, it’s commonly served for breakfast, but finished with a dusting of powdered sugar, it also makes a casual, homey dessert.
Fresh Mexican corn used for making this type of cake is starchier and drier than the fresh corn available in the U.S., so a bit of cornmeal is added here. If you have more than 250 grams (1½ cups) corn after cutting the kernels from the ears, it’s best to save the extra for another use rather than use it in this recipe; the additional moisture may make the cake too wet. Yellow corn yields a cake with a warm golden hue, but white corn also works.
Don’t use frozen corn kernels—it results in a dense, gummy texture. Made with fresh corn, the cake’s crumb is much lighter and softer. After adding the flour mixture to the corn puree, don’t whisk vigorously. Gentle mixing, just until no pockets of flour remain, will minimize gluten development so the cake bakes up tender.
3 medium ears fresh corn, preferably yellow, husked
¼ cup fine yellow cornmeal
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
½ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
Powdered sugar, to serve
Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position.
Mist a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Using a chef’s knife, cut the kernels from the ears of corn. Measure 1½ cups kernels and add to a blender; if you have extra corn, reserve it for another use. To the blender, add the cornmeal, condensed milk and yogurt, then puree until smooth, 15 to 20 seconds, scraping down the blender as needed. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
To the blender, add the whole eggs and yolks, and the oil; blend on low until smooth, 5 to 10 seconds.
Pour the puree into a large bowl. Add the flour mixture and whisk just until evenly moistened and no lumps of flour remain.
Transfer to the prepared cake pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a paring knife around the pan to loosen the cake, then invert directly onto the rack and lift off the pan. Re-invert the cake onto a serving platter and cool completely, about 1 hour.
Because of the abundance of fresh produce in mid- to late-summer, we find ourselves gravitating to certain vegetables which have a limited growing season, one being sweet corn on the cob. It finds its way to our dinner table often as a side dish: hot, buttered and eaten right off the cob. But occasionally, we want to make it the star of the show, such as in this Smoky, Sweet Corn Chowder recipe. And September is synonymous with THE BEST, when corn reigns king.
Using corn sliced right off the cob, diced potatoes and veggies this easy chowderis finished with a bit of cream, a skosh of white wine and crispy bacon crumbles. Don’t throw the cobs away after removing the kernels, instead, add them to the broth to get even more of their milky goodness into the chowder.
We changed things up a bit, no surprise there. The original recipe called for 5 cups of water. Since we had some homemade ham stock in the freezer, we substituted that (and upped the quantity by 1 cup) for the water which of course adds tons of flavor. Then, figuring we would get more taste and substance from andouille sausage than ham hocks we made that switcharoo too.
Lastly, our bicolored ears of corn were not large so I added 6 ears worth, after all, it is the star of the show here. Because it all comes together fairly quickly when the cooking starts, prep the vegetables for the chowder before you begin cooking. All the chopping—that’s the most time-intensive part of the process. But oh so worth it, because corn reigns supreme and is crowned the king in this recipe.