Last month, I went out on a bit of a limb for the Improv Cooking Challenge, taking the savory route with Cherries & Almonds. For this month, I guess I kind of played it safe with the Corn & Butter. New Jersey corn, when in season, is amazing. I know that there are lots of Midwesterners who would turn up their nose at that, but trust me. So good! That is why usually I prefer to not do anything more to a good ear of corn (meaning one that was picked the day I am going to eat it) than throw it in boiling water for about 5 to 7 minutes, and eat it right off the cob, maybe with a little butter and/or salt.
But then, several years ago, for The Hubby’s birthday, I surprised him by getting his mom, brother and a couple of family friends in town, and we went to dinner at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, in New York City. Now say what you want about Bobbly Flay, and celebrity chefs, in general, but this was easily one of the best meals we have had in our lives. And we have eaten at some pretty darn good restaurants. I am not comparing this to my local diner (not that there is anything wrong with the diner. Mmmm, pancakes!) It was an incredible night. The Hubby is not easily surprised, as he is so tuned into everything, that he always can pick up on whether something is going on. But he was truly shocked. The company was great, and the food was outstanding. And, crazy enough, one of the dishes that stands out the most in our memories was a corn side dish. So I HAD to recreate it, and have been making it every summer ever since. And we affectionately refer to it as “Bobby Flay Corn”. Now I am sure he didn’t originate the idea, and he probably didn’t even make it for us that night. But whatever. This is my homage to the Iron Chef.
Now, I am not going to say that my version is anywhere near as awesome as the one we had at Mesa Grill. But it is darn good. A little sweet, a little salty, a little crunch, a little creaminess, a little smoky, a little spicy, all brought together by a little zing from the lime juice. And you can prepare it in advance, and just heat it through before serving in the over or over the grill, based on whatever else you are cooking.
Ever since I started my blog in February, I have been waiting for the summer to arrive so that I can share this recipe. Then when I saw the theme for this month’s Improv Challenge, I knew this was the perfect time to share it. Obviously it is great with good, fresh corn, but I’ll make it to use up any leftover cooked or uncooked corn. It is so flavorful that the best quality corn is not a requirement (though it certainly tastes good). I alternate between a little butter or a little olive oil, but since I still had some of the LAND O LAKES® Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt from #SundaySupper several weeks back, I thought I would use that this time. I also use feta cheese. I am fairly certain that it is “supposed” to be cotija, but that is harder to find, and more expensive. Feta gives the same crumbly, salty cheesiness it needs. Mmmm!
For anyone new to my blog, and as a reminder to others, the Improv Challenge is a blog hop hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. A theme is given, which is two assigned ingredients. Then it is up to the participating bloggers to let the creative juices flow, and see what they can come up with. Then on the third Thursday of the month, we will all publish our new recipes based on the theme. If you are have a blog and would like to join us, click on the picture to the below to learn more.
- 4-5 ears corn (depending on the size), shucked
- 1 T butter and/or olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- ½ t kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 t chili powder (or more, if desired)
- 1 t t ground cumin
- ½ c crumbled feta or cotija cheese
- If your corn is uncooked, place over a medium-high grill for 8-12 minutes, or until slightly charred. You can also use leftover cooked corn, or just boil it, but the corn charred on the grill give it some more smoky flavor.
- Cut the kernels from the corn and place in a bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except the feta, and toss to combine well.
- Add the feta and toss gently.
- Place in a ceramic or glass baking dish or individual ramekins.
- Heat the corn through to slightly melt the cheese over the grill or in the oven (this can be done either way, or at any temperature, based on what else you are cooking).