I was watching a produce worker at Whole Foods carefully remove the outside husks from fresh ears of corn and stack them in a display. I know perfectly well that the corn isn't local -- ours is weeks away. In fact, I'm not sure I remember ever buying fresh corn out of season. I wanted to see what it's like.
I took the kernels off the cobs, blanched them with green beans in boiling water, and when they were cool, tossed them with jalapeno, red onion, olive oil, vinegar, and whole basil leaves. Looks pretty, I thought.
Tasteless. The corn is tough and has no flavor. I set it under oven-poached halibut, so the fish released its juices onto the corn, which helped a lot.
Wait for the real thing, bought directly from the farmer, who picked it that morning. You'll be rewarded in the bowl.
Corn and basil relish
Salt, to taste
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed
6 ears fresh corn, kernels removed from cobs
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 jalapeno or other small chili pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Large handful fresh basil leaves, stems trimmed
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook 2 minutes. Without draining them, add the corn to the pot. Continue cooking for 2 minutes more. Drain into a colander and rinse with very cold water until beans and corn are both cold. Set the colander aside until the vegetables are cool, shaking it once or twice to remove excess water.
2. Tip the corn and beans into a large bowl. Add onion, jalapeno, olive oil, vinegar, and parsley. Stir thoroughly and taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper, if you like. Stir in basil leaves. Sheryl Julian
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.