Call me Corny

The tang of lime and the smoky heat of the chipotle pepper really makes the sweetness of this Chipotle Lime Skillet Corn sing!

The tang of fresh lime juice and the smoky heat of a chipotle pepper really makes the sweetness of the corn shine through in this Skillet Corn with Chipotle and Lime!

I have been a bit absent for the last two weeks and I apologize. We finally got our 100 foot tall heroic, lightning-struck tree down safely on Friday, which involved a crane because it was almost cracked in half at the topmost 20 feet of it and couldn’t support a man’s weight. Another blessing to count that we didn’t have a storm take it down before we could. Unfortunately, the beautiful azaleas that you saw me post in spring, and that are part of the header on the blog right now, have taken some hits. I hope they won’t become casualties when it is all said and done.

All of the contractors are behind in our area this summer due to these storms and the damage they have wrought. It’s hard to believe that our strike was June 26th, and here we are just barely beginning to start work with repairs, replacement and so on.Β But next week we hope to start rebuilding the chimney and after that, replacing half the roof. When all of that is done, hopefully a month from now, we will get into painting. Since this process is invasive, ongoing and fluidβ€”and we both work from homeβ€”this may cause some erratic timing of posting and commenting on other posts, as I’m sure you may have noticed already! So I ask you to please bear with me. πŸ™‚

On another more palatable note, all this rain must be really good for growing corn! We’ve had some spectacularly sweet corn coming in here lately and, being that sweet corn is a favorite around our house, I’ve been preparing a lot of it.

A very traditional and typically Southern preparation of sweet corn is to cut it off the cob, scraping all of the corn “milk” into the pot, season it simply with salt and pepper, and cook it in a cast iron skillet with some butter (or you can prepare it in the microwave) until it is tender and sweet. I love using the cast iron skillet because it causes the sugars to caramelize a bit, much like when whole cobs are cooked on the grill, but without the char or smokiness. I love corn on the cob, especially grilled, but this is my new favorite way to enjoy it. And since it’s rained more than it’s been sunny around here, it’s nice to have an alternative to the grill.

As truly fabulous as skillet corn is plain, why stop there? A couple of simple variations can elevate your corn to new heights, and allow you to mix and match with a bounty of summer meals. I love spicy Mexican corn and herbed corn on the cob, and both of those flavors are wonderful with skillet corn, too.

While I think I will call this a “method” rather than a recipe, here is this terrific way to enjoy fresh sweet corn off the cob, and some lively variations to try as well. I’m telling you, if you don’t try making sweet corn in a skillet, you’re really missing one of life’s great eating pleasures. Cheers!

Southern Skillet Corn
Skillet Corn with Chipotle Butter and Lime (Queso Fresco optional)
Skillet Corn with Fresh Herb Butter

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Southern Skillet Corn and Variations
Makes 4-6 Servings

5-6 ears of fresh yellow, white or mixed sweet corn, husk and silks removed and rinsed
2 1/2 to 3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

In a large bowl, remove the corn kernels off each cob with a sharp knife by running it down the length of the cob. Turn the knife and scrape down the empty cob with the back of the knife, allowing the liquid “milk” to run into the bowl with the corn. (This is a key ingredient in the preparation…do not skip this step!)

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and corn milk to the butter and stir until the corn is well coated. Add the salt and pepper and mix through. Continue to cook the corn in the pan, stirring frequently, until it is tender and barely starting to caramelize in some places, about 5-8 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. At this point you can remove the corn from the stove and serve, or add in the additions below.

Skillet Corn with Chipotle and Lime
To the base cooked skillet corn above, squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime and stir in 1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce that has been minced. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve. You can also sprinkle on a little crumbled queso fresco or crumbled feta if you like.

Skillet Corn with Fresh Herbs
To the base cooked skillet corn above, add 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves and 10 fresh basil leaves cut into thin ribbons cross-wise (chiffonade). Stir into the corn to mix well, adjust seasonings adding a bit more salt and pepper if needed, and serve.

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30 thoughts on “Call me Corny

  1. We’ve missed you! (I think I’ve posted anything on my blog for more than a month…sometimes “life gets in the way”!) I’ve never cooked corn in a cast iron skillet – I’m gonna try that. And I really want to try making it with the fresh herbs !!

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  2. No need to apologize, glad some progress is going on with your rebuilding. Azaleas are very hardy and forgiving, I am sure it will bounce back and will be even more beautiful.
    Your corn dishes sounds delicious, should go get myself some local corn.

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    • Hi Norma and thank you. I know everyone gets behind now and then. We’ve just felt a bit out of control around here for more than a month. But when all is done, it will be a nice new chimney and a freshly painted interior…so that will be lovely. My mom says to prune the heck out of the azalea, water it well and it will come back. I know it probably won’t have any blossoms if I do that, though, but hopefully it will live. Yes! do get some corn. The rain has worked miracles this year.

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  3. I love the look of your skillet. We have plenty of corn around here at the moment too and I’m buying it often because it’s a favourite with my little guy. Good to hear you finally have that tree cut down xx

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    • My skillet is rapidly becoming my right hand in the kitchen…I just love that thing! Yes, corn is a favorite with my little (big) guy, too! We’re breathing a sigh of relief about the tree, much as I miss it.

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  4. Skillet corm with chipotle and lime. Sign me up! Sounds delicious! Good luck with the repairs. I know that the delay for fixing it is very frustrating but hopefully they will come soon and get it all sorted out. Take Care, BAM

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    • Thanks BAM. It’s a process…just a longish one! Although I can’t complain as our neighbors had a tree come through their house and it will be at least a year before they can move back in. Meanwhile, eating skillet corn is making me smile…especially with the lime and chipotle!

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  5. I have never made sweet corn in a skillet: we either steam it, grill it, or cut the kernels off to use in quesadillas, soups, etc. I’ll bet I’d like the chipotle-lime version and we have plenty of corn on the cob in the refrigerator just now.

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    • Oh, you must try it, Sharyn. It really intensifies the sweetness in the happiest way when corn is cooked in the skillet. Add in that chipotle and lime and you really do have a fiesta of flavor. (Corny, but true!) πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks Karen, me, too. It was sapping badly at the bottom and leaning from the top in a most distressing way. It now feels like we’re checking some things off the long list. πŸ™‚ Hope you have wonderful corn this season like we are having!

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  6. Oh my, I can’t believe it has taken so long! In Toronto the city owns the first 19 feet from the centre of the road, so here it would be their responsibility to take it down, and the would act fast! Last fall we had a branch come down on our neighbour’s car and they were out to inspect the tree the next day and took it down before I had the chance to say goodbye! A tree that tall and wide would cost over a thousand dollars to take down here.
    That skillet corn looks delicious Betsy. Our corn is later than normal, I hope it’s as good as yours looks.

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    • I’m not sure, but I think the tree was more than 19 feet away. Seems like we have a 5 foot rule here, but we fall in between two city limits that are 1/2 city block apart. As it was, it cost $1500 to get it down, and that’s without grinding the stump which would destroy my azaleas for sure. I’m glad you like the looks of my corn, Eva. If you haven’t tried it in a skillet, you should. I’ll bet you’d love it! πŸ™‚

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  7. No need to apologize for not being “present” in recent weeks, Betsy. Understandably, your attention was needed elsewhere and I doubt any one of us would act any differently. I’m glad they removed that tree before any further damage could result. It couldn’t have been easy waiting for help to arrive, knowing that tree was a real danger. Now that they are at work, I hope that they are finished ahead of schedule. It has to happen at least once in our lifetimes. Why not at your home? πŸ™‚
    Perfect timing, Betsy, for fried corn recipes. I love this time of year and the corn that’s available. I’ll be sure to give your versions a try this season. Yum!

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    • Hey John, and thanks for your good wishes. Unfortunately we keep hitting snags with insurance and just hit another one, so we probably won’t be able to start work this week. 😦 Meanwhile, I hope your corn is as good as ours. I know you’ve had a lot of rain, too, to say the least. It has made it sweet this year.

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  8. So glad that things are starting to move on. If only we were closer, I’d have sent Big Man round with his lorry and crane to help! Gorgeous corn dishes, we didn’t grow any this year so now I’ll have t hope that a kind neighbour gifts me some so that I can recreate these dishes as I love corn πŸ™‚

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    • That is so sweet, Tanya. I wish you were closer for a number of reasons! πŸ™‚ I do hope you get some corny gifts this season and that it is sweet and delicious. I think I had forgotten just how much I love good corn until I started making it this way this season.

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  9. I will call you corny all day long while enjoying this amazing side dish lol. This would be perfect with anything I’m making. Especially my chicken this weekend. I think I got me a side dish πŸ™‚

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  10. That looks absolutely amazing. I love your photo slide show. That is really creative. I will have to try this recipe. I will have to get my corn from the store since I live in an apartment and do not have a place for a garden. πŸ™‚

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  11. Hi Betsy – long time no see! Good to hear the tree’s gone – I hope you can get the chimney and rest of the damage sorted out soon. Ah, the joys of being a homeowner, eh?

    The corn looks lovely – I wish I could grow corn… balcony gardening isn’t really conducive to growing corn, lol, and I doubt I’ll be able to do so in Sweden when I move there some day 😦

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    • Hi Charles, and yes, the joys of being a homeowner. We are getting worn down over all of this, I tell you. And with all of these storms, it may still be a while before the chimney folks can start work. Meanwhile, it’s been a full time job dealing with insurance, etc., pretty much every day since June 26. Still, life goes on and I’m still cooking, just making more tried and true comfort food and less experimentation in the kitchen, if you know what I mean. I wish I could grow corn, too. Someday, perhaps! πŸ™‚ Hope you are well!

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