Corny, but cool: two ways to cook corn on the cob
The season is short in Ireland, so seize the moment and try it two ways: chargrilled on the cob, and made into a creamy bisque
Mexican chargrilled corn dippers with mango salsa
VANESSA’S WAY... MEXICAN CHARGRILLED CORN DIPPERS WITH MANGO SALSA
I enjoy the colour and sweetness a small tin of sweetcorn lends to mixed bean salads served with grilled meats. I’m also a fan of the US-style corn cheddar chowder from my J1 summer working in a Californian cafe. However, I draw the line at sweetcorn on pizzas.
In Mexican cuisine, corn is given centre stage, with corn fritters, and tortillas made with a special corn flour called masa harina. Next time you see those lovely ears of fresh corn in their husks, why not barbecue them.
Known as elote in Mexico and typically served as street food on a stick, they go with any number of toppings, such as herb butter, garlic, chilli, lime, cheese, mayonnaise or crème fraîche.
A barbecue tip is that boiling them first adds moisture, so the kernels don’t burn on the grill.
GARY’S WAY... BISQUE OF RICHMOUNT FARM SWEETCORN
Cooking in the midlands has had many advantages for me. Some of the farmers and producers I’ve come across have helped shape the direction my cooking has taken. None more so than Shirley O’Halleran, who runs the Longford farmers’ market, and David Burns of Richmount Farm.
Shirley has been a massive help to me since I moved to Longford in 2008. You simply can’t put a price, as a chef, on someone with local knowledge of the various food producers in your area.
David Burns has been supplying me with sweetcorn since our first year in business. Sadly, due to the weather and the growing success of his Richmount Farm Elderflower Cordial, this may well be the last year he does so. But I’m sure he’ll put me in touch with the next nearest supplier to Longford.
For me, sweetcorn epitomises how a chef should work. What I’ve always done is find the ingredient first and then I work on a recipe. By that I mean I don’t sit at home coming up with fantastic dishes then going out and trying to find the ingredients to create them. What I do, and it’s what every chef should, is find what’s in season and work from there.
Sweetcorn usually has a six- to eight-week season in Ireland. Enough time to get a decent menu run, but equally so short that it keeps both you and your customers craving more. We always want what we can’t have, right?
This sweetcorn bisque is a staple on my menu at this time of year. Anyone who has lived in warmer climates will probably associate sweetcorn with lighter, cooler dishes such as succotash, but due to its late season in Ireland, you tend to find it in more comforting, hearty dishes.