The thrill of the hunt is just one of the attractions waiting for you at your local Farmers Market. Among others is the connection to the growers and the discovery of many beautiful and colorful treats to tempt your taste-buds. I love the visuals, they are truly a feast for the eyes. Hard to say which is more pleasing to me, the people, the contact with the farmers, the rainbow of vibrant colors or the taste treats. I love it all! I go with an open mind and sometimes a list but I always buy more than expected. I cannot help myself as it conjures up such excitement that I cannot resist.
What did we find today? Luscious carrots, beans of many colors and yes, the long-awaited and beloved sweet corn. We wait a whole year for its return and when it hits the stands, we eat it until it is coming out of our ears (groan), sorry. Yes we are in the thick of it here making corn cakes, bread, chowder, salads and salsa but my favorite preparation is simply to grill it and slather in herb butter. My garden in bursting with fresh herbs so this is a way to incorporate them and add a pop of flavor. A bit of char caramelizes the kernels and enhances their sweetness. There are many theories on how best to accomplish this but I recently came across this recipe and found it to be simple and delicious.
This is how it goes down.
GRILLED CORN w/ HERB BUTTER 8 servings
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, Aug. 2013
½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
2T finely chopped tender herbs (such as cilantro, chives, or flat-leafed parsley)
1 ½ t kosher salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
8 ears corn, shucked
1T vegetable oil
- Prepare grill for medium- high heat. Mix butter, herbs, salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Brush corn with oil and grill, turning often, until it is tender and charred in spots, 5-8 minutes.
- Transfer corn to a large platter or bowl and spread with reserved herb butter, dividing evenly.
Do ahead: Herb butter can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before spreading over grilled ears of corn.
By the way, I modified this a bit by using a lightly salted pasture butter by Organic Valley. For the herbs, I used basil, chives and flat leafed parsley but any tender herb would do. I have used tarragon before and it was a great match for the corn’s sweetness.
I cannot leave this post without also mentioning another exciting and beautiful market find, purple string beans or as my grandkids like to call them, Jack’s magic beans. The magic is in the transformation from purple to green as they cook. I have grown these beans before and they are as tasty as they are colorful. I like a simple preparation of lightly steaming or grilling and then a toss with a good olive oil and a sprinkle of flaked sea salt, such as Maldon. The nuttiness of the beans are brought to life and not overpowered by a heavy sauce. Yummy!
I would love to hear about your local market finds. If you haven’t visited it, I urge you to do so soon while the season is at its peak and the freshness cannot be beat. You will notice the difference, I guarantee it!
Go today, make friends with a farmer and spread the love one fresh seasonal dish at a time.