6 best corn recipes for anyone and everyone

From breakfast to dessert, there's a corn recipe for every time of day

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Food Editor

Published August 27, 2022 4:30PM (EDT)

Yellow Corn For Sale At Market Stall (Getty Images/Noam Cohen/EyeEm)
Yellow Corn For Sale At Market Stall (Getty Images/Noam Cohen/EyeEm)

A friend of mine, who happens to be an elementary school teacher, sent me a video the other day alongside a text that read: "Future food writer?"

The clip was from Recess Therapy, a web series in which host Julian Shapiro-Barnum interviews children between the ages of two and nine years old in New York. What I appreciate about Shapiro-Barnum's conversations is that they truly reflect the weird, single-minded obsessions that only young kids can have. Thus far, these have included komodo dragons, splashing in the pool, and in the video my friend sent me, corn.

"For me, I really like corn," says the boy, whose video started making the rounds on social media under the hashtags #cornboy and #CEOofCorn. "Ever since I was told corn was real, it tasted good. When I tried it with butter, everything changed!"

Corn Boy, whose real name is Tariq, has since appeared in a follow-up video in which he discusses, among other things, the top three ways to eat corn: with "the grease," "toasted" and "toasted with butter and the grease."

And while I can't necessarily attest to the culinary definition of "the grease" — though he tells Shapiro-Barnum that it's "actually kind of the thing that makes the corn good" — I do agree with Tariq that eating good, fresh corn is one of the highlights of summer, something we've explored wholeheartedly this week here at Salon Food.

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During Corn Week, we dove into the various ways to prepare corn (which, fun fact, can actually be a grain or a vegetable depending on when it's harvested), whether chargrilled for elote or ground for cornbread and Milk Bar-inspired truffles.

Here are six of our favorite recipes using the summer staple:

This crispy, fried secret ingredient is the best way to upgrade homemade chili

My dad doesn't have many rules in the kitchen — but one nonnegotiable is that chili has to be topped with hand-torn cornbread tossed in spitting hot oil. The resulting cornbread croutons are crispy and a little sweet, making them the perfect thing to soak up umami-rich, spiced broth.

The trick to perfect cornbread is letting the cornmeal, corn flour and buttermilk sit overnight

On that note, are you looking to make your homemade cornbread even better? According to chef Kelly Fields, the trick to this perfect cornbread is letting the cornmeal, corn flour and buttermilk sit overnight.

"This allows the corn flour to fully hydrate, while the acid from the buttermilk tenderizes the cornmeal, helping to create a tender, almost cakey bread that still retains that slightly gritty texture you expect," she writes.

A spicy taste of Mexican street corn, ready in 15 minutes

Speaking of street corn, Salon senior writer Mary Elizabeth Williams was inspired by a recent trip to Sedona to give frozen corn — mixed with mayonnaise, cotija and lots of fresh cilantro — a trip under the broiler to make a delectable dip that hits all the same notes as esquites.

Missed the Milk Bar-Taco Bell collab? You can still make your own strawberry taco truffles at home

Earlier this month, Milk Bar and Taco Bell briefly collaborated on a limited-edition strawberry taco truffle made of "vanilla cake studded with strawberry pieces and soaked in strawberry milk . . . filled with a sweet corn fudge center . . . coated with strawberry and sweet corn cake coating, studded with tiny pieces of Taco Bell's Crunchy Taco Shell."

While trying one in-person eluded Williams, she took to the kitchen to make an easy at-home version.

The truth behind my grandma's (not-so-secret) corn casserole

Kelly Vaughan grew up eating what she knows as corn casserole, and what you may know as a corn bowl or spoon bread. "It's not quite cornbread, but also not a layered casserole or gratin," she writes. "To call it magical might be a bit of an overstatement, but not by much."

When Vaughan was 10 years old, she decided that she wanted to start her own cooking show. It was filmed by her parents, and the "theme song" was performed by Vaughan on the clarinet. One of the first recipes she tackled was this corn casserole, thanks to her grandmother's 6-ingredient recipe.

Summer corn and fresh blueberries meet in this decadent cannabis-infused frozen dessert

Maybe you're just looking for a way to chill out — figuratively and metaphorically — as summer starts to fade into fall. To that end, look no further than Tracey Meidoros' luxurious sweet corn ice cream topped with fresh blueberries and a brown sugar crumble. There's the option to add THC, as well.

This story originally appeared in Salon Food's weekly newsletter, The Bite. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss the unique original essays, how-to's, recipes and more.

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Ashlie D. Stevens is Salon's food editor. She is also an award-winning radio producer, editor and features writer — with a special emphasis on food, culture and subculture. Her writing has appeared in and on The Atlantic, National Geographic’s “The Plate,” Eater, VICE, Slate, Salon, The Bitter Southerner and Chicago Magazine, while her audio work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here & Now, as well as APM’s Marketplace. She is based in Chicago.

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