Meal plan

Five summer suppers for sweetcorn season

Last week, Emily Weinstein waxed lyrical about the tomato. Now she’s infatuated with its sweet, seasonal sister: sweetcorn

Monday 29 August 2022 06:30 BST
Corn is at its best between July and October
Corn is at its best between July and October (Getty)

Last week, I told you I was in full tomato mode. Which is true. But it’s not the whole story.

My other summer love is fresh sweetcorn, which I find so irresistible that I drag home far more than I can carry when I leave the market. I’ll probably end up in physical therapy, but I have to have my corn.

Tomatoes and corn are excellent partners, and I make a lot of salads that incorporate both. But sometimes you just want that corn – on the cob, in pancakes, in pasta, in soup and in all manner of desserts. I’m infatuated with sweetcorn ice cream. I scramble corn kernels with eggs for a pleasingly monochromatic meal.

This week, I’ve picked five corn recipes for you.

Grilled chicken with tomatoes and corn

While you could rest grilled chicken on a cutting board to ensure the juices don’t run out of the meat when it’s sliced, a more delicious option is to place the chicken on a pile of tomatoes, corn and red onion. The seasoned drippings act as a no-effort warm dressing, bolstering the flavour of the vegetables and softening their raw edges. Before grilling, the chicken is rubbed with chilli powder, the spice mix that typically includes dried oregano, garlic, onion, cumin and ground chillies, for complex flavour with minimal effort. Fresh oregano, while optional, emphasises the herbs in the chilli powder. Use this technique of resting grilled proteins on fresh produce for many summer dinners: pork chops on peaches, steak on chopped spring onions and ginger, sausages on radicchio, and halloumi on citrus.

By: Ali Slagle

Serves: 4

Total time: 30 minutes


680g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the grill grates

1 tbsp chilli powder


680g large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 ear of corn, kernels cut from the cob

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (optional)


1. Heat the grill to medium-high. In a medium bowl, coat the chicken with 2 tbsp olive oil, the chilli powder and ½ tsp salt; set aside. (You can do this step up to 1 day ahead; refrigerate and bring to room temperature before cooking.)

2. On a large platter, layer the tomatoes, corn kernels, red onion and fresh oregano (if using). Season with ¾ tsp salt and drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil.

3. When ready to grill, clean the grates with a grill brush, then lightly grease the grates. Grill the chicken until browned and cooked through, and it releases easily from the grates, 5 to 7 minutes per side. (If flare-ups occur, move the chicken to an area of the grill with smaller flames underneath. For a gas grill, close the lid between flips, listening and peeking occasionally for flare-ups.)

4. Transfer the chicken to the platter. Let rest for 5 to 20 minutes before serving.

Savoury corn fritters

An excellent side for a late summer barbecue or a breakfast
An excellent side for a late summer barbecue or a breakfast (Getty)

These corn fritters use fresh, whole kernels mixed with spices, spring onions and a simple batter. Corn fritters come in many types, from the cornmeal-based, deep-fried hush puppies to the more patty-shaped, pan-fried fritters. Pan-seared in hot oil until crisp, these pattylike fritters contain cheddar, which adds creaminess while still allowing the crunchy corn kernels to provide a pop of sweet flavour and texture with each bite. Fritters make an excellent side for a cookout, as they stand up to smoky barbecue flavours and can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Leftovers make an excellent breakfast, with a dollop of sour cream or plain yoghurt on top.

By: Vallery Lomas

Serves: 18 fritters

Total time: 30 minutes


2 large eggs

160ml whole milk

1 tsp fine sea salt

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp ground cayenne

120g all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

3 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen and thawed (about 450g)

25g chopped spring onion greens

120g sharp cheddar, shredded

Vegetable oil, coconut oil or shortening, for frying


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and ground cayenne. Whisk in the flour and baking powder until just combined. Stir in the corn, spring onions and cheddar.

2. Heat a cast-iron pan over medium-low and add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan.

3. Once the oil is shimmering hot, add a heaping tbsp of the batter to the pan. Use the back of the spoon to flatten it into a round patty. Repeat to fry 3 to 4 fritters at once. Fry on each side until golden, about 2 minutes, then cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add more oil as needed.

4. Remove from the pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined baking tray. Repeat until all fritters are fried. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Creamy corn pasta with basil

There’s no cream in this wonderfully summery pasta dish, just a luscious sauce made from puréed fresh corn and sweet sautéed spring onions, along with parmesan for depth and red chilli flakes for a contrasting bite. Be sure to add the lemon juice and fresh herbs at the end; the rich pasta really benefits from their bright, fresh flavours. And while this is best made at the height of corn season, it’s still quite good even with out-of-season supermarket ears or with frozen corn.

By: Melissa Clark

Serves: 3 to 4

Total time: 30 minutes


Fine sea salt

340g dry orecchiette or farfalle

1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 bunch spring onions (about 8), trimmed and thinly sliced (keep the whites and greens separate)

2 large ears corn, shucked and kernels removed

½ tsp ground black pepper, more for serving

3 tbsp unsalted butter

½ cup grated parmesan cheese, more to taste

20g torn basil or mint, more for garnish

¼ tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

Fresh lemon juice, as needed


1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until 1 minute shy of al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta water.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat; add spring onion whites and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add ¼ cup water and all but ¼ cup corn; simmer until corn is heated through and almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper, transfer to a blender, and purée mixture until smooth, adding a little extra water if needed to get a thick but pourable texture.

3. Heat the same pan over high heat. Add butter and let melt. Add reserved ¼ cup corn and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. (It’s OK if the butter browns; that deepens the flavour.) Add the corn purée and cook for 30 seconds to heat and combine the flavours.

4. Reduce heat to medium. Add pasta and half the reserved pasta cooking water, tossing to coat. Cook for 1 minute, then add a little more of the pasta cooking water if the mixture seems too thick. Stir in ¼ cup of the spring onion greens, the parmesan, the herbs, the red pepper flakes, ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to taste. Transfer to warm pasta bowls and garnish with more spring onions, herbs, a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper.

Cod and corn with butter

This one-pot seafood dinner is inspired by clambake, a festive meal cooked in a fire pit and enjoyed with melted butter. Here, cod and corn cook in a garlicky broth of bottled clam juice for instant shellfish flavour. A final swirl of paprika-spiked Old-Bay butter adds smoky depth to the dish, usually brought by smoldering logs. Leftover butter can be refrigerated or frozen for later use; it’s great on roasted potatoes and grilled prawns or steak.

By: Kay Chun

Serves: 4

Total time: 20 minutes


3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

225g cherry or grape tomatoes

Salt and black pepper

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 (225g) bottle clam juice

2 ears corn, shucked and cut into 2½cm segments

4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tsp Old Bay seasoning

¼ tsp smoked paprika

680g cod fillet, cut into 5cm pieces

2 tbsp thinly sliced spring onions, plus more for garnish

Warm crusty bread, for serving


1. In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add clam juice and corn, and bring to a boil over high. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook until corn is tender, about 3 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine butter, Old Bay, paprika and remaining 1 tbsp oil; mix well.

4. Season cod with salt and pepper, and add to pot. Cover and cook until cod is flaky and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in spring onions and 1 tbsp of the Old Bay butter; season with salt and pepper.

5. Divide everything among four bowls. Garnish with more spring onions and season with black pepper. Spread some Old Bay butter over warm crusty bread and serve alongside.

Sook mei faan (Cantonese creamed corn with tofu and rice)

Creamed corn over rice is a quintessential Cantonese dish often served at cha chaan tengs, casual diners that are ubiquitous in Hong Kong. There are many variations of sook mei faan, or corn rice. Some include chunks of pork or chicken, while another rendition has the creamy corn ladled over fried fish fillets. While this dish is traditionally made with canned creamed corn, this vegan version uses fresh corn, which offers a well-rounded sweetness that still feels bright, and is served over cold silken tofu, offering a pleasing contrast in texture and temperature.

By: Hetty McKinnon

Serves: 4

Total time: 25 minutes


2 (400g) packages silken tofu, drained

450g corn kernels, from 3 large cobs or thawed from frozen

1 tbsp neutral oil, such as grapeseed, vegetable or canola, plus more as needed

1 (2½cm) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 spring onions, finely sliced, plus more for serving

350ml vegetable stock


White pepper

2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

Steamed rice, for serving

Coriander leaves and tender stems, for garnish

Sesame oil or chilli oil, for drizzling


1. Carefully pat the tofu dry with a clean kitchen towel, and cut each block into 8 slices.

2. Place half the corn kernels into a blender or food processor, and blitz until creamy but still chunky.

3. Heat a medium saucepan or deep pan over medium-high. When hot, add 1 tbsp oil. Add the ginger, garlic and spring onions, and cook for 20 seconds until aromatic. (They shouldn’t brown too much.) Add the remaining corn kernels, along with the blitzed corn and vegetable stock, season well with salt and white pepper, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to bring the mixture to a boil. Stirring constantly, slowly add the cornstarch slurry, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened.

4. Divide rice among bowls. For each serving, lay 4 slices of silken tofu on top of the rice and top with a few spoonfuls of the creamed corn. Finish with spring onions, cilantro and drizzle with sesame or chilli oil.

Tips: If you don’t have cornstarch, you can thicken the creamed corn by adding an egg. Beat 1 egg, reduce heat to low, and slowly pour the egg in a steady stream into the corn mixture. (Do not stir.) Allow to cook for 30 seconds, then slowly stir with chopsticks or a fork to create long strands of egg. This dish can also be eaten with pasta or noodles.

© The New York Times

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