Sunday, July 8, 2007

Corn from a Special Place

Good friends brought us some fresh sweet corn last weekend. Actually, she brought it down to the house, but he was the one who insisted that when you pass through this particular place you MUST get the corn, because it is the best. She had shrugged and said, "Whatever," but she brought what he'd picked up special for us.

Apparently our good friends had had a conversation about preparing the corn, and grilling was met with noises of horror - he said you must boil this special corn.

So I took the first ear, of five - one for each of us (though youngest son doesn't eat it yet) - and it was heavier than usual. I started to shuck the ear and the fresh sweet fragrance made me stop and take a deep breath. Then I finished the ear, even the silk was fresh and fat and juicy, and set it on the husks. I moved on to the second ear, noticing that the outer husks were a deeper green than most corn.

That's when I stopped and took this photo, because I knew I was in the presence of something extraordinary and I would be blogging about it later.

I finished the shucking - two ears were delightfully fat, well formed right to the tips, and smelled unbelievable. I broke those in half, so all four of us corn eaters could start with those. Then I boiled all five, with some trepidation, because I was worried I would somehow ruin them. While I got fresh rosemary and basil from my herb bed, chopped them and half a sweet onion, the big pot came to a boil. While I mixed the chopped spices into the burgers (adding garlic) the corn simmered. Before I put the beef on the coals I tested the kernels with a fork and, feeling they were done, I drained the water and left them covered.

We ate outside, that day having been only in the low eighties. The burgers were some of the best I've ever made, and we hardly noticed because the corn put us over the moon. I have never tasted corn like it.

And do you know where it was from? Imagine your perfect corn place - the place that would grow the most amazing corn on the cob on earth. Where is it? I hope you'll comment on where you dream it might be.

These ears, so green, fragrant, juicy, sweet and succulent, were from New Jersey. Our friend (a transplanted Yankee) had said, "You've GOT to get corn when you go through New Jersey." I had never heard about their corn before - but it gives real meaning to New Jersey's being called "the Garden State." I-95 doesn't show any of Jersey's best. We ate some of it that night.

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