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Posts Tagged ‘corn’

I am probably one of the few non-Southerners who loves okra.  I usually don’t buy it at the supermarket – only when it pops up at the green market in August does it make it to our table.  It is such an interesting looking vegetable, particularly when it is the purple variety. When I have time and the price is right, I will pickle a good amount of okra.  It makes a great accompaniment to charcuterie or cheese platters.  But, as often as not, I will give it a quick stir-fry all by itself or mix it up with some tomatoes and onions.  But occasionally – particularly when I’ve made cornbread or have shrimp on hand – I’ll turn them into my version of maque choux, that traditional Louisiana side dish that usually features just corn, bell peppers, and onion.  Cornbread makes a good dipping tool and shrimp can turn it into a sorta gumbo.  I never cook okra very long as I’m not a fan once it starts to get slimy.  Although recently someone told me that if you blanch it for a minute or so, it stays bright green and doesn’t get slimy.  I haven’t tried that method so can’t recommend it, but you might want to give it a try.

Maque Choux

Serves 4

2 tablespoons bacon grease (or any fat you like)

½ cup chopped red onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced hot green or red chile or to taste

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 cup fresh corn kernels

½ cup chopped red bell pepper

2 cups sliced okra

¾ cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper

½ cup chopped scallions

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Hot sauce, optional

 

Heat the bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, chile, and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes or until the onion is softening.  Stir in the corn and bell pepper and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until just barely tender.  Stir in the okra and then quickly add the cream, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for about 5 minutes or just until slightly thick.  Don’t cook too long as you don’t want the okra to start oozing – you want it slightly crisp.

Remove from the heat and stir in the scallions and parsley.  Taste and, if necessary, season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.

Serve hot.

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succotash

 

Succotash is a very early American recipe combining our native beans and corn, but I only seem to make it in the summer when I can get fresh lima beans and corn locally.  I never think of making it in the winter with frozen vegetables, although I suppose it is probably still pretty good.  Fresh limas are not so easy to come by even in the farmers market.  I don’t know if this is because people don’t buy them or farmers don’t like to grow them.  But I do know that whenever I see them, I snap them up.  I got great ones the other day at the farmers market and although we haven’t had great luck with corn this summer, I bought some ears to make a Sunday supper of succotash topped with sliced grilled (on my stove top grill pan) chicken breast.  What a tasty meal – with a side of sliced heirloom tomatoes and a bowl of pickled beets.  Summer at its best!

¼ cup finely diced slab bacon
¼ cup finely diced sweet onion
2 to 3 cups fresh lima beans
Kernels from 4 large ears fresh corn
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the bacon and onion in a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add the butter and cook, stirring frequently, for about 7 minutes or until the bacon has begun to color and the onions have softened.  Add the lima beans and corn, stirring to blend.  Add the cream, season with salt and pepper, cover,  and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or just until the beans are tender.

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20130702_Corn_DSC_0939

Fresh off the grill – the taste we’ve been waiting for all winter!  If this first batch tells the story, it’s going to be a great summer for corn.

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