No end of trouble with old corn! First of all – it’s not a vegetable. It’s a grain, so more related to grass than to carrots. It won’t count as one of your five-a-day because it’s largely starch, and full of sugars as well (boo! hiss!). On the other hand it’s a gluten free cereal which for some may be a redeeming feature. But it’s relatively low in protein and fibre in spite of being the most-produced grain worldwide.
The next problem comes with naming it: corn, maize, corn on the cob, sweet corn; and then its derivatives: is cornmeal the same as polenta? is corn flour just fine cornmeal? and what about corn syrup and golden syrup – the same thing (horrid stuff btw, sweeter than sugar – but handy when making frozen yoghurt)? An ear or a cob of corn? And do you peel or shuck the husk/leaves/silk?
Finally – how to cook it? Not edible raw (not a veg, figures), some swear by simply boiling it, recalling fond memories of Italian holidays and street vendors’ steaming vats. Just don’t add salt – it makes boiled corn tough as hell. Others whack it on a BBQ no matter what – unpeeled/shucked or naked, slathered in oil. Microwaving corn is a lesser sin; it takes only three minutes and makes for a succulent cob. I like to roast it myself: dotted with butter and wrapped in aluminium foil; half an hour in a hot oven and then a blast of grill in the open foil package.
Creamed corn was a dish I’d vaguely heard of, imagining very very wrongly mashed baby food lookalike. Creamed corn in fact is now my number one method of cooking corn and that’s how I’ll continue until the end of the summer and beyond – it’s gorgeous. Takes minutes to cook, isn’t too rich; you just have to watch it like a hawk, spoon at the ready, because it does like to catch and burn.
And the combination of fresh ripe tomatoes and cooked cheese-oozy kernels is simply ace. The pairing credited to Melissa Clark of NY Times.