You see them everywhere, shimmering in the mid summer heat, piles of emerald and gold spilling out across the back, eager lines of customers waiting with cash in hand. Yes, sweet corn, a herald of summer, is here once again. In our little corner of the world, pickup trucks with flatbeds filled to the brim with sugary sweet corn stand waiting at busy street corners, gas stations and abandoned parking lots. Grocery stores announce the seasonal delicacy with bright yellow signs dotting the streets and the farmer’s markets host huge trailers bursting with ear after ear.
Home kitchens bustle this time of year as families buy up bushels of the golden kernels, canning and freezing their treasures for a sweet taste of summer come the doldrums of winter. Family barbeques would be incomplete without steaming hot ears of corn slathered in butter, salt and pepper. Entire festivals pay homage to the summer delight while local VFWs host sweet corn feeds for the masses. Needless to say, it’s a big deal ‘round these parts.
Last summer’s sweet corn season passed in the blink of an eye, leaving us wanting more. I felt we had somehow squandered the season. As the last trucks rolled out of their spots following Labor Day, I vowed next year would be different. We would buy our sweet corn in bundles and enjoy it steaming hot, butter dripping down our chins with toothpicks nearby. And enjoy it we have, but a simple (albeit delicious) boiled ear of corn doesn’t exactly send the blogosphere’s tongues wagging. And so, we present to you our “Ode to Sweet Corn,” five days of delicious, delicate kernels. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be rolling my ears in their sweet, salty butter bath until Labor Day, but these recipes may be just what you needed to sweeten the pot as you celebrate the season.
As August rolls in with its sweltering summer heat, grills throughout the neighborhood are being fired up in an effort to keep the thermostat and electric bills at bay inside. When the days are so hot you can see the waves of heat off of the patio, I want something substantial, but not heavy for the evening meal. Steak sandwiches are a great way to feed and fill the masses. A single flank steak or skirt steak, sliced thinly and piled on ciabatta buns can really stretch the budget, leaving money left over for a late-night run to the local ice cream shop to cool off.
The sandwich has additional layers of flavor from grilled red peppers and onions (again, no stove/oven) but it really gets its zip from the sweet corn and basil flecked mayonnaise crowning it. A touch of acidity from red wine vinegar helps to brighten the mayo a bit and prevents it from being overly heavy on top of the steak, peppers and onions. Fresh, juicy bursts of sweet corn pop in your mouth as you bite down on the sandwich. Be sure to have a fork nearby, as you’ll want to capture every escaping kernel that tumbles from your sandwich. Depending on how many people you are feeding, you may want to have a second steak on hand, because I guarantee you’ll want seconds.
grilled steak sandwiches with sweet corn mayonnaise
recipe: adapted from Bon Appetit
2/3 c. mayonnaise
1 ½ Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 ears of sweet corn, husked
2 small bell peppers, halved and seeded
½ red onion, sliced into ¼” segments
1 ½ lb. flank or skirt steak
6 ciabatta rolls
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine first five ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper, set aside.
Preheat a grill to medium high. Season steak liberally with salt and pepper. Grill steak to desired doneness, about 5-6 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from grill and let rest about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, grill sweet corn, peppers, and onions until done, about 15 minutes for corn, 8 minutes for peppers, and 5 minutes for onions (skewer with a wooden or metal skewer to prevent falling through grates). Place peppers in a large resealable plastic bag and let steam for about 5 minutes. Remove skins from peppers and slice lengthwise. Slice steak thinly against the grain. Remove corn from cob and add to mayonnaise mixture.
Place 3-4 pieces of steak on bottom half of ciabatta roll. Top with slices of red pepper and onion. Place about 1 ½ Tbsp. corn mayonnaise on top half of ciabatta roll. Place on sandwich and repeat with remaining rolls. Serve warm.
All content and photographs © 2010 jb’s pour house