I love corn. And the best part of loving corn is that I live on the Eastern Shore— serious corn country. From early summer days through the late harvests in September, farm stands are piled high with cobs. American Indians, who introduced corn to the European settlers, used every portion of the corn: the husks for baking, the stalks for fodder, the corn for eating and the cobs for crafts. Nowadays, we also use the versatile vegetable for oil, starch, grits, movie fare, even fuel.
I prefer white corn above all others for its intense sweetness. There is debate on the virtues of corn varietals like Silver Queen and Butter and Sugar, but what’s important is when the corn is picked. The closer you can get from picking corn to eating it, the better. As soon as ears are removed from the stalk, sugar in the corn starts converting to starch, losing its sweetness by the minute. The ultimate way to prepare corn is simply to boil it fresh and serve with salt and butter. Roll the cob on a stick of unsalted butter and season with salt and eat it like you’re pecking away at an old typewriter. I’ve included some other favorite preparations, too. Corn and crab combine to make great fritters, corn dogs are popular treats for the kids, corn salsa and black beans make an easy lunch or dinner with fresh fish and the roasted corn soup is so easy it nearly makes itself.