Sweetcorn is one of our favourite late summer crops. It takes up a fair bit of space so we only make two plantings – one under cover and one outdoors. The harvest is brief but there are few things better than freshly picked corn. We usually just simmer it for five minutes, slather in butter and seasoning, and enjoy it on the cob. For a change, though, we put together this simple salad.
It is not dissimilar to various corn based salsas, with the inclusion of fresh coriander leaf and chilli, and with the sweetness of the corn cut with lime juice. The kernels are readily removed, once cooked, with a sharp knife, although care is called for so as not to slip. One should never hold the cob below the knife.
For this salad we used some of our crop of Lark F1 sweetcorn. Lark is one of only two hybrid vegetable varieties that we grow, the other being tomato Sungold F1, which I continue to grow for CT until I can find a replacement that she likes as much for snacking on. Unlike other vegetables, where I find no substantive advantage with hybrid sorts – at least from the perspective of the kitchen garden – and much to recommend many traditional varieties, sweetcorn is a special case. The hybrids include genes that raise the sugar levels and slow their conversion to starch, giving them a much better shelf life than open pollinated varieties, although how important this is rather depends on how convenient it is to harvest the crop just when needed. When just picked, Lark is very sweet – too sweet, perhaps, for my taste – even with the lime juice. On reflection, the open pollinated corn that we also grew this year might have been a better choice for this particular dish. Shop bought sweetcorn that has hung around long enough for the sugar levels to drop somewhat ought to be fine.
Lark produces modest sized cobs, so we used three, but two of the more usual sized cobs should be adequate. Depending on what else it is served with, the suggested quantities should serve two to four people.