Fried Corn: The Crowning Glory of a Summer Supper

When my mother fried fresh summer corn, she had a special way of cutting it off the cob. She did not like big kernels so she cut twice.

Step One

The first cut took off only the tips of the kernels, then she went back and cut close to the cob. Then she scraped the cob to remove the milk or juice. Of course, this comes only after shucking and removing every visible silk. It was a badge of honor to eliminate every single silk.

Step Two

Fried corn is not really fried the way we usually define frying – cooking in hot fat over moderate to high heat. However it is easy to see how the name evolved. Fried (or creamed) corn is often cooked in a cast iron skillet in which bacon drippings or butter have been melted before adding the corn. Milk or water is added to the corn and cooked over low heat until the starch in the corn thickens the mixture.

Step Three

The trick, of course, is to prevent sticking and burning by constant stirring. For this my mother usually recruited one of her grandchildren to stand and stir. Thanks to her cutting and cooking method, the result was sweet, slightly salty and perfectly creamy. Served with fresh green beans, sliced tomatoes and a skillet of crispy cornbread, fried corn is the crowning glory of many summer meals.

Do you have any tricks for cutting or cooking fried corn? I’d love to hear from you.

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