Welcome back to our series Market Fresh, in which we take a look at one ingredient that's showing up in the city's Greenmarkets right now and tell you what to do with it. Last week, we looked at peaches, and today we're cooking with corn.
Ah, corn. One of the original New World crops, and the foundation of the Aztec empire. It's since been cultivated around the world and used in everything from syrup to sandwich bread. But the time to enjoy corn in its sweetest, simplest state is now, in the peak of summer, when corn from the city's Greenmarkets is so fresh you can eat it raw, straight off the cob (seriously; try it some time). Look for bicolor (white and yellow kernels) Jersey corn and don't, contrary to popular belief, peel back the tufts on top to check for freshness; doing so will actually shorten the cob's shelf life. Squeeze the bottom of the cob instead and feel for firmness.
We talked to Melissa Muller Daka, chef at Chelsea Italian favorite Eolo, to find out how she maximizes the flavor of corn. "The sweetness of the corn as well as the balsamic-honey dressing balances well with the sharp bitterness of the radicchio," she says of this simple salad.
Eolo's Melissa Muller Daka's Corn & Radicchio Salad
4 Ears of Fresh Corn on the Cob
1 Large Head of Radicchio
1/8 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Honey
A Pinch of Sugar
1/8 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Shaved Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Clean the corn and place whole in a pot. Fill the pot with cold water to cover the corn. Add a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt to the water.
Bring water to a boil. Then, remove the pot from the heat and cover for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, clean the radicchio head and hand tear the leaves into 1 1/2 inch segments.
In a mixing bowl, place the balsamic vinegar and the honey. Mix well with a whisk. Then, add the salt to taste and the extra virgin olive oil. Whisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
Remove the corn from the water and cut the kernels off of the cob. Break into chunks.
In a salad bowl, mix the corn & the radicchio leaves. Toss with vinaigrette to taste.
Top with the shaved Parmesan Cheese.