Last night we visited Jeff at his house on Lake Mohawk, in Carroll County in the northeastern part of Ohio. We had a fine home-cooked dinner that featured some fresh Ohio sweet corn, local grass-fed beef, just-picked blueberries from a nearby farm, and other tasty products of Ohio agriculture. Everything was excellent, but the sweet corn was especially spectacular.
We are in the midst of sweet corn season in Ohio. I am not sure when it begins and when it ends, but July is prime time to buy a few ears of sweet corn at a roadside stand, prepare it at home as part of a cookout, and then munch the corn right off the cob, your teeth moving down the rows of kernels like a typewriter cartridge, with butter and salt dribbling on your chin. The corn is so fresh that the kernels seem to snap off the cob, and so sweet that eating a few ears is like sneaking dessert into dinner. Ohioans proudly boast that their sweet corn is the best sweet corn in the country — and it is hard to believe that any sweet corn anywhere could be better.
Jeff also tipped us off to a new preparation method that we are going to have to try. Traditionally, when you get the ears home you shuck the corn and spend a considerable amount of time carefully picking the silk off the sticky rows of corn kernels. Then, you toss the corn into boiling water to cook. Jeff’s method is to cut off the silk from the top of the ear, and then place the unshucked corn in the oven for cooking at about 350 degrees for twenty minutes or so. When the ears are done, steam from the cooked ears has loosened the green sheathing and the silk and they supposedly slide right off.
Any technique that streamlines the eating of sweet corn is well worth learning.