Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Music to my ears

Waiting all year for a particular harvest is like waiting for your favorite rock band to come to town. Once they are here you have to act fast, because it will be quite a while before you have a chance see them again.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at South Street Seaport July '09, just one of the many fantastic outdoor concerts we saw this summer! Photo:Alan Mann

So it is with corn. Yes, you can get it all year round, but when it is fresh and in season and coming from a local farm, there is nothing like it. I wondered if Amanda had any thoughts about wine pairing with corn. Light, sweet, grassy, a little nutty perhaps, are the flavors I would associate with corn. Two corn dishes I love to make are a simple saute of corn with peppers and a curried corn fritter. The fritters are light and airy with just a hint of curry to add some depth and interest. Eat them hot hot hot out of the frying pan and the fresh corn kernels will burst in your mouth with sweetness. I like to serve these fritters with peach salsa. There are still some nice peaches out there and this salsa tastes great with everything.

The Southwestern style corn saute is a really quick dish with a tiny bite coming from the addition of chili powder and finely minced jalapenos to add some color and crunch. I make this dish all year round, but when the corn is fresh and tender it delightfully melts in your mouth. Sublime!

I wonder who else is in town this weekend?

Curried Corn Fritters with Peach Salsa
2 ears of corn, kernels removed from cob
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
2 scallions minced
1/3 cup of yellow cornmeal
3 Tbs flour
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs canola oil
Mix corn kernels with the egg, milk, and scallions. Add the dry ingredients and stir to blend. Heat oil in shallow pan till hot and nearly smoking.
Drop 1 large tablespoon of corn batter into hot oil for each fritter.
Cook till golden, about 2 minutes and then flip and cook 2 more minutes. Drain on paper towel and salt to taste while still hot.

serve immediately with salsa

Peach Salsa
2 large peaches peeled and chopped into small cubes
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1 jalapeno finely chopped
2 Tbs chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of one lime
Mix all ingredients and allow to sit for 15 minutes for flavors to combine.

Southwest Pan Sauteed Corn
2 Tbs canola oil
1 jalapeno pepper finely minced
1/2 red bell pepper finely minced
4 ears of corn, kernels removed from cob
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs butter
Heat oil in saute pan add jalapeno and peppers and cook about five minutes till they begin to soften. Add the corn and continue to cook till corn takes on a bright color, about 5 more minutes. Add the chili powder, salt and butter and cook another minute or two till flavors are blended and the butter is completely melted. serves 4
Both recipes sound fabulous. And, since my husband is an avid corn fan, I may just have to surprise him with these this weekend! I have perfect wines in mind for both. I think a Pinot Blanc from Alsace, France would be a super hit with the corn fritters, especially given the addition of curry powder. The wonderful fruit flavors of the wine are traditionally a great combination with Indian spices. And, the wine is perfectly suited to the peach salsa as well. Pinot Blanc from this region in France typically displays terrific aromas and flavors of peaches and pears, and is usually rich and round on the palate. One of my favorite whites, the wine will display different characteristics dependent upon where it is produced. In California, the wine can be more Chardonnay-like. But I think one from Alsace, a bit more delicate in style, really would be so perfect with these fritters!
And, I have a great match for the Corn Sautee! Last night I was at a wine dinner with winemaker Nick Goldschmidt, who produces fabulous wines from New Zealand, Australia and California. He is incredibly knowledgable as well has extremely funny. At the event, I sampled his Forefathers Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. The wine has a lot of stone fruit and pear characteristics, and is a bit "bigger" than a typical Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. The delicious flavors of passion fruit on the finish will surely stand up to, and subdue, the spicy kick from the jalapeno peppers. The slightly sweet, grassy flavors of the corn that Deborah described above will also perfectly complement any New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc!

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