- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Fresh corn is a favorite food that comes increasingly to mind as spring and summer prompt a change to lighthearted foods for outings and cookouts.

Even though the traditional harvest of local sweet corn reaches its peak later in the season in many regions, supersweet varieties, many of them from Florida, are already available for cooks to get reacquainted with their summery recipes.

Bear in mind that the sugar-to-starch conversion that starts as soon as fresh corn is picked is slower in new supersweet varieties, but to stay sweet and tender longer, the corn should be kept refrigerated if you don’t use it immediately.

The following quickly made recipes can be cooked either on the grill or in the oven, and some of the preparation can be done ahead. The food is cooked in foil packets — which keeps flavor in and leaves little or no mess behind on the grill. The packets are also easily portable for outings.

Corn, seafood and zucchini packets

The preparation time is 10 minutes, and the cooking time is 15 to 20 minutes.

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

2 medium zucchini, cut in 2-inch chunks (about 3 cups)

4 ears fresh supersweet corn, cut in 2-inch pieces

1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp and/or scallops

8 thin slices lemon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees or heat outdoor grill.

In a large bowl, combine oil, garlic, thyme and salt. Add zucchini, corn and shellfish; toss. On each of four 14-by-18-inch sheets of heavy-duty foil, place a quarter of the sweet corn mixture in the center.

Top with lemon slices. Draw together longer edges of foil and crimp, leaving room for steam to circulate; seal foil ends. Alternatively, divide mixture evenly among four ready-to-use single-portion foil bags. (At this stage packets can be refrigerated up to 4 hours, or packed with ice in a cooler for up to 2 hours.)

Place packets in a single layer on a large baking sheet or on a rack in a grill. Bake or grill 15 minutes for shrimp or 20 minutes for scallops. Remove packets; let stand 5 minutes before opening. Makes 4 servings.

Corn and couscous packets

The preparation time is 15 minutes, and the cooking time is 20 minutes.

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoons salt, divided

1⅓ cups couscous

1 teaspoon ground cumin

4 ears fresh supersweet corn, cut in 2-inch pieces

4 cups sliced mushrooms (about 1 pound)

2 cups red bell pepper cut in 1-inch squares

1 cup thinly sliced onion

cup chopped pitted imported olives (optional)

Preheat grill or oven to 450 degrees.

In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and teaspoon of the salt; bring to a boil. Stir in couscous; cover and let stand for 5 minutes; fluff. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon salt and the cumin. Add sweet corn, mushrooms, bell pepper, onion and olives; toss.

On each of four 14-by-18-inch sheets of heavy-duty foil, place a quarter of the corn mixture in the center, top with fluffed couscous. Draw together longer edges of foil and crimp, leaving room for steam to circulate; seal foil ends.

Or, divide mixture evenly among four ready-to-use single-portion foil bags.

(At this stage packets can be refrigerated up to 4 hours, or packed with ice in a cooler for up to 2 hours.)

Place packets in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake or grill packets for 20 minutes. Remove packets from oven or grill; let stand 5 minutes before opening. Makes 4 servings.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide