FOOD: Savory recipes for sweet corn off the cob
GOOD FOOD, GOOD LIFE
Free Press Food Columnist
SWEET CORN ON SALE
If you want to try Christa’s recipes in this column, “Olathe Sweet” sweet corn is on sale at Sprouts Farmers Market in Grand Junction five for $1 through Aug. 28.
Sweet corn is in abundance in groceries and at farmers’ markets. In this region of Colorado, we have long been anticipating the arrival of the sweet corn from the town of Olathe! The wait is over, but get it while you can.
When corn has just been picked, it doesn’t require much cooking. It’s especially delicious (and juicy) eaten raw. In the recipe below, some of the corn is left completely raw to highlight this delightful but short season.
About four ears of corn should yield what this recipe requires. Cut it off the cob only when you’re ready to use it.
TOFU AND COCONUT CURRY SAUCE
1 package of firm tofu
4 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari, divided
2.5 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 can of coconut milk (not lite)
1 tsp. chili flakes
1.5 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste
2 tsp. honey or agave or other sweetener
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1/2 lime
1/3 C. packed basil or Thai basil, cut into very thin strips (chiffonade)
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
Drain tofu and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Lay the slices on a clean towel (paper towels are fine), cover with another towel, and place a sheet pan on top, weighted slightly. This is to remove much of the moisture from the tofu.
In a sauce pan, combine the coconut milk, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, chili flakes, curry paste, and honey and whisk together. Bring to a simmer. The sauce will thicken slightly. Turn off the heat or keep on the lowest heat. Add the zest, the toasted sesame oil, and the basil. Cover and keep warm.
Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and toss with the remaining 2 Tbsp. of soy sauce.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2.5 Tbsp. of peanut oil. Fry the tofu, turning until they are slightly browned on all (or most) sides. Keep warm or you can put them right into your curry sauce.
SWEET CORN AND SCALLION PANCAKES
2/3 C. chickpea flour
2/3 C. whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 C. all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda*
1/8 tsp. turmeric
2 C. almond milk (unsweetened!) or 1.5 C. soy milk (unsweetened!) + 1/2 C. water
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 C. scallions, finely chopped
1 C. sweet corn
Peanut oil for frying
1/2 C. cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds
Toasted sesame oil for drizzling
1/2 C. sweet corn
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk in the liquid until just combined. When ready to fry the pancakes, stir in the garlic, scallions, and 1 cup of corn. Heat a Tbsp. or 2 of peanut oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium — high heat. Fry as many pancakes as will comfortably fit. When bubbles in the center of the pancakes stay open, they are ready to turn over. A full 1/3 cup-plus measure will likely yield 8 pancakes. While making batches, the finished pancakes can be kept in a warm oven on an oven safe platter or pan.
Plate 2 pancakes per serving, topped with 1/4 of the tofu and coconut curry sauce. Top with chopped cilantro, black sesame seeds, a couple tablespoons of raw fresh sweet corn and a small drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
A FEW NOTES:
• Don’t worry about the flours. I’ve made these pancakes with all sorts of flour combinations and they have come out just fine. The above is a very successful combination. If you increase the chickpea flour, your pancakes will be heavier. If you skip it altogether, just make sure your flours total 2 cups.
• Soy milk is much heavier than almond milk. With the moisture and weight of the vegetables, it is important to keep the liquid a bit lighter so you don’t have heavy pancakes that are wet in the middle. My preference is almond milk. Whichever you choose, make sure you buy unsweetened (plain or original versions will be sweetened).
• This pancake recipe is successful at an altitude of 8,750 feet. At sea level, increase the baking soda to 1.5 tsp.
• If you are only using some of the pancake batter, store the scallions, garlic, and corn separately until ready to use.
• This dish is complemented well with a side of sesame pea pods and a Napa cabbage salad with a sweet Asian dressing.
Telluride resident Christa Moran lives and breathes fresh food. Already an accomplished chef, after becoming a vegan in 2011, she’s dedicated her free time to creating original dishes in keeping with a diet void of animal products. Christa may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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