Sunday, August 19, 2007
Corn on the Cob
I am here to report that reading can change one's life! A few years ago, I read a Rex Stout story called Murder is Corny. In it, Nero Wolfe expounds on the "right" way to cook corn on the cob. The episode is included in the wonderful cookbook.
It developed that the delivery boy, who was taking some corn also to Rusterman's Restaurant, was attacked and killed behind the restaurant, and the unraveling of that murder is the story of Murder is Corny, during the course of which Wolfe explains to Inspector Cramer the best way to cook corn on the cob.
Wolfe: It must be nearly mature, but not quite, and it must be picked not more than three hours before it reaches me. Do you eat sweet corn?
Cramer: Yes. You're stalling.
Wolfe: No. Who cooks it?
Cramer: My wife. I haven't got a Fritz. [The household chef]
Wolfe: Does she cook it in water?
Cramer: Sure. Is yours cooked in beer? [Wolfe loves beer]
Wolfe: No. Millions of American women, and some men, commit that outrage every summer day. They are turning a superb treat into mere provender. Shucked and boiled in water, sweet corn is edible and nutritious; roasted in husk in the hottest possible oven for forty minutes, shucked at the table, and buttered and salted, nothing else, it is ambrosia. No chef's ingenuity and imagination have ever created a finer dish.
Before putting in the oven, pull off the loose husk leaves, and cut off the tassel. We have the oven at 425º F. They do cook about 40 minutes.
On the plate.
The taste is so different from boiling it, the only way I ever knew before reading this story, that it could be a different vegetable. Tom got the corn at the Farmer's Market this morning, and though we didn't eat it three hours after picking, I'll bet it wasn't more than six hours. What a taste! I think that this may possibly be my favorite food on the earth. And yes, Tom and I each ate three ears. :<)