Yesterday we were sitting at Brouwer’s with some friends after a Mariner’s game, discussing dinner options. Yes, it was a Seattle kind of Saturday; it started with a rollerblade around Greenlake to celebrate 1992 and included two lattes consumed at two separate independent coffee houses, in addition to my morning coffee. The latter might explain why I felt great bopping around all day yesterday, until I woke up this morning with what, for both symptomatic and gustatory reasons, I must label consumption.
We’d had garlic fries at the game. If you haven’t had the pleasure: “Garlic fries” insinuates (to me, anyway) that one is ordering French fries with a bit of garlic something on them. At Safeco Field, one actually receives chopped garlic garnished with fries. I’d like to start a petition at Safeco to convince the vendor to rename them “fries garlic,” implying that “garlic” is the main ingredient and “fries” is just a descriptor, because it would be a lot more accurate. If you’d like to duplicate the experience, eating a head of raw garlic is a probably close approximation, as long as ACDC’s “Thunder” is playing at full volume in the background. It made me wonder whether fries garlic sometimes cause pitchers to lose their concentration; the stadium’s collective garlic breath must be bad enough to find its way from way up in the nosebleeds, where we were sitting, down to the mound.
And oh, the morning breath. I’m fairly certain our dog is avoiding us.
After binging on fries garlic (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and other associated ballgame foods, my friend Michelle announced she needed something lighter for dinner, specifically, corn – but not right off the cob. (I like it when people know what they want; it always creates a much easier path to an eventual dinner decision.) She wanted something similar to this corn salad but less salady, more spicy, and perhaps used as a garnish for something grilled. We agreed on a spinach salad and grilled chicken with hot chipotle corn salsa.
We all gathered in our kitchen, milling and talking and eating and drinking in the casual, everyone-does-everything way that separates having dinner with friends from having friends over for dinner.
Discussion inevitably meandered to the pros and cons of the different methods used to cut corn off a cob: I think most people balance one end of the cob on a cutting board and cut the kernels off, like this or this (or worse, as shown in this painful video).
I’m just not as balanced a person, I guess. If I do it that way, the kernels go everywhere, and sometimes I rocket the cob itself across the room, too. I much prefer to place the cob down on the cutting board, and use a small, sharp knife to cut three or four rows of kernels off at a time, running the knife down the length of cob with the knife’s point on the board (as opposed to cutting straight down along its entire length) and rotating the cob (up, away from the knife’s blade) a little bit after each row.
The advantages for me are clear: 1) I don’t have to start by cutting the cob in half or cutting one end off to make a flat spot, which is sometimes tough to do and always hard on my joints, and 2) The kernels end up neatly lined up on the cutting board, rather than scattered around the board itself, the counter, and whatever happens to be within a roughly three-foot radius of the actual cob (such as my dog).
Recipe for Hot Chipotle Corn Salsa
Recipe 210 of 365
I’d have written a recipe for grilled chicken topped with this spicy, creamy corn salsa, but it seems a shame to limit the topping to just chicken – cook the salsa and serve it as a piquant side dish on its own, stir it into ground beef for making hamburgers, serve it over fish, or stuff it into tacos or burritos.
TIME: 20 minutes
MAKES: 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large scallions, sliced, white and green parts (roughly) separated
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Kernels from 3 ears fresh corn
1 chipotle pepper en adobo, finely chopped, plus 1/2 – 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the oil, then add the white parts only of the scallions, and the jalapenos. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the corn, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, and cream, and season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cream has thickened and the corn is bright. Remove from heat, stir in sliced scallion greens, season with additional salt and pepper if necessary, and serve. (The corn can also be served cold, and can be reheated just before serving.)