Fired Up for Florida Supersweet Corn

May 21, 2013 | By | Comments (0)

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Photo by Jennifer Davick

The spring growing season for Florida supersweet corn peaks just about the time we’re firing up the backyard grill again for outdoor suppers – which is weeks before the local harvest shows up at roadside stands. Ripe with summer flavor, supersweet corn is so deliciously crisp and tender that it can be sprinkled over salads, tossed with pasta, or tucked into a quesadilla without even being cooked. Of course you could simply char a few ears on the grill and slather on some butter, but zipping those sweet little kernels off the cob is way easier (and quicker) than you might think.

For starters, shake up your weeknight routine with a stack of fresh corn cakes topped with grilled chicken and bacon, or plate up a manly Grilled Steak-Corn-Spinach Salad in just 30 minutes flat.  Bonus: you can grill the chicken or steak at the same time you grill the corn, and both are hearty enough to satisfy any carnivore.

A few kernels of wisdom when you’re shopping: Peel back the husks (they should be moist and green) and take a peek inside. You’re looking for plump, shiny kernels and glossy silks. Unlike other varieties, both yellow and white Florida supersweet corn taste equally sweet, and the fresh flavor lasts up to a week after it’s picked.

Grilled Chicken with Fresh Corn Cakes

Start with a package of cornbread mix (which tops my list of versatile, quick-fix pantry favorites) and add fresh corn for a savory pancake supper that’s guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Makes 4 servings
Hands-on 15 Minutes Total 56 Minutes

3 lemons
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
3 skinned and boned chicken breasts
3 ears fresh corn, husks removed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (6-oz.) package buttermilk cornbread mix
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
8 cooked thick hickory-smoked bacon slices
2 cups loosely packed arugula

1. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Grate zest from lemons to equal 1 Tbsp. Cut lemons in half; squeeze juice from lemons into a measuring cup to equal 1/4 cup.
2. Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, next 3 ingredients, and 1 tsp. salt. Reserve 1/4 cup lemon mixture. Pour remaining lemon mixture in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; add chicken. Seal and chill 15 minutes, turning once. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade.
3. Brush corn with 1 Tbsp. olive oil; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt.
4. Grill chicken and corn at the same time, covered with grill lid, 20 minutes, turning chicken once and turning corn every 4 to 5 minutes. Remove chicken, and cover. Hold each grilled cob upright on a cutting board, and carefully cut downward, cutting kernels from cob.
5. Stir together cornbread mix and 2/3 cup water in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in basil and 1 cup grilled corn kernels. Pour about 1/4 cup batter for each corn cake onto a hot, lightly greased griddle. Cook cakes 3 to 4 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry and cooked; turn and cook other side.
6. Thinly slice chicken. To serve, place 2 corn cakes on each plate, top with chicken and 2 bacon slices. Toss arugula with reserved lemon mixture. Place arugula on bacon, and sprinkle with corn kernels.

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