Corn on the cob is plentiful and available at our local markets

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By Norm Harding, Reporter

Even though it’s available year round, I really love that first ear of corn in late spring or early summer, when they are at their peak.
Like tomatoes, corn is best when grown locally. Check out our local farm markets and farmers markets. Usually, the corn sold there has been picked that morning, unlike corn sold in the local super markets. Corn loses it freshness very quickly.
Corn is the number one field crop grown in the United States, in both value and volume of production. Did you know that corn is the main ingredient in most of our dry pet foods? Or that one bushel of corn is needed to sweeten 400 cans of Coca-Cola?

Preparation Tips
When boiling ears of corn, I like to boil the ears for about 7 minutes in salted water. When roasting, make sure to soak the unhusked ears in water for about 10 minutes prior to roasting (this will help prevent the husks from charring). Place the corn on a pre-heated grill (direct-medium if using gas grill) and roast 10-15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
To microwave ears of corn, simply place the ears with their husks on in the microwave. If cooking one or two ears, microwave on High for 5 minutes per ear, turning halfway through.
When roasting and microwaving, use caution and wear oven mitts when husking. The steam built up inside the husks is very hot.

Roasted Corn on the Cob No. 1
Fresh corn is shucked, placed on squares of aluminum foil and coated with mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and chili powder.
6 ears corn, husked and cleaned
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
6 Tbsps. grated Parmesan cheese
Chili powder
Butter (spray-type works best)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat grill to 350 degrees. Coat each ear with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Sprinkle each ear of corn with Parmesan cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper. Spray each ear with butter. Wrap each ear in aluminum foil and place on the grill. Grill for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through.

Roasted Corn on the Cob No. 2
Fresh corn is shucked, placed on squares of aluminum foil and drizzled with a spicy, buttery concoction of mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.
6 ears fresh corn
1/3-cup butter
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. hot sauce
Preheat grill for medium heat. In a small saucepan, melt butter or margarine. Stir in dry mustard, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Place each ear of corn on individual pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with butter mixture.
Wrap loosely, leaving space for the expansion of steam and seal. Grill over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until corn is tender. Carefully unwrap foil and serve. Makes six servings.

Fresh Corn Salad
5 ears corn, shucked
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chiffonade fresh basil leaves
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for about 3 minutes or until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and set the color.
When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob. Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the freshly cut basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.
Note: Try adding 1/2 cup of chopped tomato and 1/2 cup feta cheese, diced or crumbled, for an additional kick.

Garden Kebabs
2 ears corn-on-the-cob, husked and cut into 3 pieces each
3 small zucchini, each cut into 4 pieces
1 large onion, cut into 12 wedges
12 large fresh mushroom caps
2 bell peppers, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsps. fresh chives, chopped
2 tsps. fresh dill weed, chopped
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Preheat grill and prepare for indirect grilling (flame on either side but not directly underneath). Boil corn for about 5-8 minutes or until tender. Allow corn to cool enough to handle.
Place vegetables on kebabs alternating between vegetables. Stir together baste ingredients and brush over kebabs. Place kebabs on hot grill over the unlit part. Grill for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Baste occasionally with brush. Makes 6 kebabs.

Corn Chowder
4 slices bacon
2 Tbsps. minced onion
1 Tbsp. minced celery
1 Tbsps. minced green pepper
2 cups whole-kernel corn
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
3 tomatoes, diced
4 cups milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dice the bacon and brown in a pan over medium heat; add onion, celery and green pepper. Cook until bacon is crisp. Add the corn and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
Add the potatoes, tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Then, add the milk and heat until boiling; remove from heat. Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley.

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Skillet
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups fresh or frozen whole kernel corn
2 medium zucchini, sliced crosswise, 1/4 inch thick
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise in thin wedges
1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 Tbsp. adobo sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add chicken; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until browned. Add corn, zucchini and onion. Cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened. Stir in tomatoes, chipotle pepper and salt. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, covered, or until chicken is cooked through.
Serve in shallow soup bowls. Makes 4 servings.
Note: It may not be the same, but 1 Tbsp. chili powder stirred into 2 Tbsp. ketchup can replace the chipotles in adobo sauce.
Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, e-mail him at nharding@brunswickbeacon.com.