Summer Skillet Corn


August always reminds me of the bountiful sweet corn harvest.

I’ve watched many of the farms on the east end of Long Island transform themselves from barren dirt-covered fields to  symmetrical rows of the lush, rigid corn stalks, jutting up towards the sky.

Lucky for me, all of the farmer’s markets on the east end of Long Island have set up their “Sweet Corn Here” signs to lure consumers (like me) to check out their selection of ears.  Corn ear pyramids piled high on tables decorate the stalls, completing the tail-end summer crop before the fall harvest vegetables enter the landscape.

Growing up, Mom would always take me on her weekly August excursions in search of the farm stands offering the sweetest Silver Queen corn.  At that time, the Maryland Silver Queen corn was the premiere corn crop. The corn’s sweet, white kernels could make the mouth of any Marylander water.  We’d travel to the “stands” which were usually crude pick up trucks with their trunk area piled high with ears and ears of corn.  She’d spend a good half hour giving me lessons on how to pick through the crop in search of the perfect selection.  We’d peel down the husks to get a peak at the corn, looking for complete rows of milky full kernels lining the corn ear all the way to the tip.  If there were any signs of ear worms, we’d decide if the ears could still be salvageable for cooking.  Satisfied with our purchase, we’d walk away with our brown paper bags filled to the brim.  As soon as we entered the house, Mom would set up the huge pot on the stove while I’d shuck the corn in the carport with my sister.

No barbecue or summer dinner of Mom’s was complete without Silver Queen corn, specially-prepared.

For the remainder of the summer, my menu planning will include corn for dinner and consecutive lunches and then dinner again. My kids love to help shuck the corn.  But, most importantly, they love eating Mom’s celebrated skillet corn. Boiled and then sizzled to perfection with butter and caramelized onions, this recipe is as good hot as it is served cold.

Then with the leftovers, we’ll make Mom’s fresh corn salad with tomatoes.

Are you catching on to the pattern yet?


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