Sunday, 14 August 2011

Corn On The Cob With Mayo and Parmesan: Yeah, You Heard Me.

This dish makes me lose my mind it tastes so good. It's hard, sometimes, for me to eat corn like a normal person know, with a bit of butter, salt and pepper, everybody's happy. Ever since a friend in high school* introduced this style of eating corn to me, it's been hard to not make it this way every time. But I remember I used to be okay with corn the old fashioned way.

Unsullied corn.
Let me take you back to a time when life was simple, when kids were kids and the living was easy; let me take you back to camp. Those that know me well know that in an odd twist, I spent a couple of weeks every summer from ages 8 to 13 at a Mennonite camp called Silver Lake. I had a best friend who was Mennonite, and basically just did everything she did, including attending church and camp with her Menno peeps. I didn't really retain very much info of the religious sort over those years, but man, did I ever love camp. And eating at camp was thrilling! People would serve you something different, every meal, and you could have seconds if you wanted, and there were always condiments around, and oh man, I was always super happy at camp.

Anyway, one day each camp session, we had corn on the cob for dinner. Only corn! It was the BEST THING EVER. There would be huge cauldrons of just-boiled cobs, and you could have as many as you wanted.  I think I usually topped out at about 6. No joke. And they had huge hunks of butter that they tied up in new J-cloths, you know the blue kind? You took the J-cloth wrapped butter, and smooshed it all over your corn. The butter seeped through the J-Cloth fabric just right, and you had full coverage with little mess. Genius.

A three-ingredient "meal"!
But I digress. This corn, right here before you, is not about camp, or simplicity. This corn is about adulthood, and always wanting more, and never being satisfied. This corn is about sullying what is already a delicious piece of food and making it even more delicious, just because you can. Corn is in its prime right now, it's so yellow and peachy and healthy and just begging to be buried under mayonnaise and parmesan. You feel me?

Corn with Mayonnaise and Parmesan

If you're serving this as a side dish, you can get away with one cob per person. I usually do it camp-styles and eat 2 cobs (not 6, I swear) as my dinner and that's it. No salad, no protein, nothing. All corn.

2 ears corn on the cob       (a couple of notes on buying corn:  don't be a jerk and shuck the corn in the store to see if your cob is perfect - once a cob is shucked, and the corn comes into direct contact with the air, it starts to oxidize, and dry out, and get less sweet, and get less delicious. Buy from a place that you trust and accept the fact that you might get a bad cob every now and then - and leave the shucking until right before the cooking. And try and cook your corn as soon after buying it as you can, the fresher the better.) 
2 tbsp or so of mayonnaise      (okay and the craziest thing? I don't even really like mayonnaise - but for some strange reason, it doesn't seem to matter in this recipe. So don't be dissuaded if you're like me and aren't really a mayo person. Make it anyway, see for yourself.)
2 tbsp or so of grated parmesan cheese       (use the good stuff, if you can. Although, having said that, the first few times I had it at my friend's place in high school, they used the grated "cheese" in a can, and it sure did the trick. So really, when I'm giving you a recipe that involves slathering mayo on corn, I should just shut up and let you use whatever quality of parm you'd like.)
Freshly ground pepper

Eat this by yourself, or with someone who loves you unconditionally.

Place the freshly-shucked corn cobs in boiling water, and boil until they get super bright yellow and you can really start to smell it. Should take about 8 minutes. Pull them out of the water and let cool enough that you can handle the corn without burning your fingers. You want the corn actually fairly cool, so the mayo doesn't get melty. Slather a thin (but not too thin) layer of mayo all over the ear of corn, and then sprinkle with the parmesan so that it coats it entirely, and sticks to the mayo. Then, calmly dig in to this delightful, raunchy dish.

*The same friend also introduced me to guacamole, god bless her.  Her Dad was Mexican, and they ate some really good food in their house. I'm so thankful I didn't have to wait longer than the age of 14 to understand this corn, and the power of mashed avocados, cilantro, and lime.

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