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Corn tastes best in summer
Corn tastes best in summer

Corn chowder with bacon and potatoes. Doesn’t it sound scrumptious?

Corn is iconic symbol of both summertime BBQ fun and a night out at the movies. Corn is often associated with the colour yellow; it actually comes in host of different varieties and in an array of different colours such as red, pink, black, and blue. Corn grows in “ears”, each of which is covered with rows of kernels that are then protected by the silk-like threads called “corn silk” and encased in a husk.

Corn is known scientifically as Zea mays. This moniker reflect its traditional name, maize, by which it is known in many parts of the world. It has been a staple food in native civilisations since primitive times with some of the earliest traces of meals made from corn dating back about 7,000 years.

To enjoy maximum flavour, purchase the corn on the day you are going to cook it since it has a tendency to lose its flavour rapidly. Store the corn in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Do not remove its husk since this will protect its flavour. To enjoy optimal sweetness, corn should be eaten as soon as possible.

Fresh corn freezes well if placed in heavy-duty freezer bags. To prepare whole ears for freezing, blanch them first for seven to 11 minutes depending upon their size. If you just want to freeze the kernels, first blanch the ears for about five minutes and then cut the kernels off the cob at about three-quarters of their depths.

Whole corn-on-the- cob will keep for up to one year, while the kernels can be frozen for two to three months.

Now, for a recipe.

Corn Chowder with Bacon and Potatoes

Ingredients:

Bacon, diced: 3 slices

Minced onion: 3 tbsp

Diced potatoes: two-and-a-half cups

Celery, finely chopped: half cup

Carrot, finely chopped: half cup

Boiling water: 1 cup

Salt: one-and-a-half tsp

Ground black pepper: one-eighth tsp

Cream-style corn: 2 cups

Corn kernels, frozen: 1 cup

Milk: 2 cups

Method: Cook the diced bacon until it begins to brown; add onion and sauté until the onion is tender. Add the potatoes, celery, carrot and boiling water.

Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally.

Add salt, pepper, corn and milk. Bring just to the boil. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

PRADEEP PRASANNAN,
Jr. Sous Chef, Taj Connemara

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