CSA Week 9: Sweet Corn, two ways

The sweet corn has arrived. I really only like fresh corn, either on the cob or off, but please don’t make me use frozen or canned corn. Apparently it arrived last week, but I was on vacation. However, while on vacation, menu-planning for a big family dinner I came across a recipe for corn salad from Mark Bittman that got me pretty excited. Mostly because it involved avocado in addition to the sweet corn. I didn’t end up making it for our family dinner but when there was sweet corn in the CSA box this week I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

So salad it was. And it hit the spot in the most perfect way. An amazing balance of sweet and spicy.

Again, while on vacation, I came across an intriguing recipe for sweet corn and blackberry swirl ice cream while I was perusing Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (thank you Scott for bringing me her book back from your trip to Columbus, Ohio). And then upon my return to Minneapolis, my friend Laura also brought up the idea, after reading this New York Times article.

Corn ice cream. Who knew? (Although I highly recommend it with the berry swirl – without it, it’s just too much corn flavor and the berries balance it out nicely.)

Sweet Corn Salad

from Mark Bittman

1 tablespoon oil
3 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 small tomato, diced
1 small avocado, diced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
juice from 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Remove kernels from corn cobs (but save the cobs – you’ll need them for the ice cream!). Dice the red onion and red bell pepper. Set aside.

Heat oil in medium skillet and add corn kernels. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chili powder, red onion and red bell pepper. Transfer to a medium sized bowl. Let cool for a few minutes.

Dice tomato and avocado and add to bowl. Add chopped cilantro. Toss with lime juice and salt and pepper.

Call it a salad or call it a salsa. I ate it with corn chips and was extremely happy with my decision.

Sweet Corn and Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream

adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Sweet Corn Ice Cream
3 hulled corn cobs
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Blackberry Sauce
1 cup blackberries
1/2 cup sugar

Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch, until dissolved. Set aside. Whisk cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.

In a medium pot, combine remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup and corn cobs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through mesh sieve. Return to pot and whisk in cornstarch slurry, cooking until slightly thickened, about a minute. Remove from heat. Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese, whisking constantly until smooth. Pour through mesh sieve to remove any clumps. Chill mixture thoroughly.

While the ice cream base is chilling, make the blackberry sauce. Heat blackberries and sugar in a small pot over high heat until boiling. Cook for 7-8 minutes and remove from heat. Transfer to a blender and puree. Run through mesh sieve to remove seeds. Chill thoroughly.

Freeze ice cream base in ice cream maker, about 25 minutes. Once churned, layer ice cream and blackberry sauce in alternating layers in a storage container – do not mix! End with a spoonful of sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and an airtight lid and store in freezer.

The first bite is shocking – it tastes like corn! And you think “I’m not too sure about this” but as you continue to eat it you start to dread the fact that it is coming to an end.

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