Food & Drink

Kernels of Wisdom

Pro tips on cooking with fresh corn from five Southern chefs


“We blanch corn in boiling water and then shock it in ice water before doing any kind of cooking. This cuts down on cooking time and allows us to get a quick char on the outside without over- or undercooking the inside.”

—Ervin Bryant of Blue Collar in Miami, Florida
>Get his recipe for Corn with Piquillos

“Corn is starchy, so we’ll put corn pulp and juice through a strainer and use the resulting liquid to thicken sauces all summer. Right now, for example, we’re using it in a jus for a pork dish. We pour some stock into a skillet, then add a splash of corn juice, and it tightens up quickly. It’s almost like adding cornstarch.”

Ryan Pera of Eight Row Flint, Revival Market, and Coltivare in Houston, Texas
>Get his recipe for Corn & Shrimp Tagliatelle

“When you have leftover corn, or even corncobs, you can simmer it in water for about an hour to make corn stock. It’s delicious, and a good substitute for chicken stock.”

—Edouardo Jordan of Salare and JuneBaby from Seattle, Washington
>Get his recipe for Corn Pots de Crème

“To silk an ear of corn, I’ll take a dry kitchen towel and wipe down the surface. A few quick, agitating swipes will get a lot of that silk off.”

—Steven Satterfield of Miller Union in Atlanta, Georgia
>Get his recipe for Scallion & Fresh Corn Spoon Bread

“I’ve worked in restaurants where people cut corn too close to the cob. You don’t want to take a piece of the cob with your kernels. It’s better to leave a little bit of kernel and use the back of a knife or a box grater to get the remaining juice and pulp. When we put up corn every summer, we freeze the pulp with the kernels.”

—April McGreger of Farmer’s Daughter Pickles & Preserves in Hillsborough, North Carolina
>Get her recipe for Nita’s Corn Salad