Corn on the Fourth of July
Corn is the most American of food. Although it is thought to have originated in central Mexico, Native Americans had been cultivating it for well over a thousand years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. And when the Pilgrims were struggling along, barely surviving the winter of 1620, Native Americans came to the rescue with, among other things, corn. Under the tutelage of Squanto, the colonists planted corn in the spring of 1621, and their survival was assured.
It is appropriate, then, with Independence Day approaching, we pay tribute to the staple crop that made such an enormous contribution to the success of our nation.
Thanks to farmers in the southern hemisphere, fresh corn is available in supermarkets almost year round. But right now, the stores are full of the fat ears of fresh, locally grown corn that everyone associates with summer.
The corn contained in our recipes here is in several different forms, all of which make for delicious dishes.
Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Add corn and all the scrapings, butter and remaining ingredients to skillet. Cook over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently.
Transfer mixture to a serving dish and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Makes about 6 servings.
Naturally, corn is a staple of Mexican cooking, so it is not too surprising to find it in salsa.
Combine corn with remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to develop. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes about 4 cups.
If good fresh corn is not available, use 1-1/2 cups frozen whole kernel corn.
Coat each ear of corn with approximately 1 tablespoon of the butter mixture. Wrap each ear in aluminum foil.
To grill, cook with grill lid down, over medium-hot coals 15 to 20 minutes, turning once. For the oven, roast at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes.
Use heavy-duty aluminum foil if you are grilling.
Combine the dry ingredients. Combine the egg, oil and milk. Add to the dry ingredients, mixing well.
Insert the skewers to within 1/2 inch of the top of each frank. Coat each frank evenly with cornmeal mixture. Deep fry, a few at a time, in hot shortening or oil for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with lots of yellow mustard.
This creamy, buttery soup can be the start of an elegant meal or a meal in itself.
Remove half of the vegetable mixture and place in a blender or food processor. Pulse until mixture is smooth. Return mixture to pan, stirring well. Add the milk, and cook until heated through. Do not boil. Makes 5 cups.
No question about it, corn is a mainstay and, considering its place in our nation's history, it's downright patriotic to put it on your menu for the Fourth of July.
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