One of my favorite things about summer is the little roadside stand that pops up at the front of the neighborhood. Farm fresh corn, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers sit in baskets, just picked that morning. It makes me feel good knowing where my fruits and vegetables were grown, knowing that they are locally in season and knowing that I’m buying them straight from the farm.
Mike and I are both southern born and bred and we love our southern traditions, but we differ when it comes to vegetables. Mike loves his cooked ‘southern style’… green beans cooked in ham hock for hours, collards doused in vinegar. I tend to prefer my vegetables tossed in a saute pan for 10 seconds and then tossed onto the plate. It’s rare when we find a vegetable dish that we both love… one that has southern flavor for him and fresh tasting vegetables for me.
Our favorite magazine is Garden and Gun… it’s the only magazine that we both race to read first. Needless to say, the summer issue caught our attention with a section inside titled ‘Eat Your Veggies’. The article talked about the importance of vegetables in southern meals and one of the recipes in particular stood out because it sounded delicious to both of us. It’s since become a favorite of ours and a staple in our summer meal rotation. We modified the recipe just a bit from the original G&G version, just to suit our tastes and what we typically have on hand. We usually serve this dish with grilled chicken but tonight, it may be the main course (and there’s nothing wrong with that)!
Cast-Iron Charred Corn (original recipe found here) serves 2-4
- 4 ears fresh corn, shucked
- 1/4 cup cooked bacon crumbled
- 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup minced onion (original recipe calls for Vidalia, I usually purchase whatever yellow onion the produce stand has available)
- 1/2 cup 2% milk (original recipe calls for heavy cream, we don’t keep that on hand and decided to sub the milk in instead)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp chives minced
Remove your kernels from all 4 ears of corn and set aside in a small bowl. Over a separate bowl, scrape each cob with the back of a dinner or butter knife, removing the milk and pulp of the cob into the bowl. Set that aside as well. Mince onion and set aside.
I first heat my cast iron skillet on medium heat and add my bacon… 5-6 slices yields the 1/4 cup, but in our family, there’s no such thing as too much bacon! Once the bacon is fully cooked, I remove the strips and let them drain. I pour off most of the bacon grease out of the pan, but leave a light coating and set the skillet back on the burner. I add my corn kernels, cooking until the kernels start to char, about 2-3 minutes. I add the bacon back to the skillet and continue to cook, another 4-5 minutes. Set skillet aside.
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, add onion and continue to cook until onion is translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add corn milk and pulp, charred corn and bacon mixture from skillet and milk to saucepan. Cook on low heat an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with chopped chives. Serve immediately (although I can attest that it is just as good reheated a day later!).
Anyone have any other good southern style vegetable recipes that they’d be willing to share? Something with southern flavor for him and good texture for me!