I'll always have a place in my heart for sweet summer corn—you can take the boy out of Indiana, but you can't take Indiana out of the boy. It's true that most of fields that cover the Midwest are dedicated to decidedly unappetizing field corn, but come summer there is still always plenty of sweet corn around.
When you've got access to awesome sweet corn it's tempting to eat it straight off the cob. That certainly isn't a bad choice, but there is so much more that you can do with corn. From sautéed corn with chorizo and pressure cooker corn soup to corn-studded pancakes and summery nachos, we've rounded up 20 recipes to show just how versatile this vegetable is. (And don't worry, we didn't forget about corn on the cob).
Sous Vide Corn on the Cob
There are tons of ways to cook corn, so why bother with sous vide? There are two advantages—not only will the controlled temperature give the corn an evenly crisp-tender texture, but keeping it locked in a bag seals in the flavor and leads to the most intensely flavored corn on the cob imaginable.
The Best Basic Grilled Corn
Not sold on sous vide? Fortunately, you can get great results with more conventional techniques like grilling. There are a few ways to do it, but our favorite is to shuck the corn and put it straight onto the grates so that it cooks quickly and gets as much smoky, charred flavor as possible.
Grilled Corn With Harissa and Mint
If you're tired of serving corn with nothing but butter and salt, we've got plenty of suggestions to help you out. Here we slather the corn with a sauce made with olive oil, harissa, cumin, coriander, mint, and lime juice. If you're still not satisfied, try our recipes flavored with spicy Korean miso sauce and ginger soy butter.
Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)
Truth be told, none of those recipes hold a candle to elotes. This beloved Mexican street food, flavored with Cotija cheese, crema, mayonnaise, garlic, cilantro, and chili powder, is guaranteed to steal the show at any cookout. Be sure to make plenty because your guests are going to want a couple ears each.
Mexican Street Corn Salad (Esquites)
As delicious as elotes is, it's equally messy—you're bound to wind up with sauce all over your hands and face. That's arguably part of the fun, but if you want something a little easier to eat then try esquites, which puts all of the same flavors into a salad. Don't feel like firing up the grill? The salad will come out just as tasty if you char the corn in a skillet.
Raw Corn Salad With Shiso and Basil
You don't actually have to cook corn at all—here we keep it raw to make a bright, refreshing salad. We pair the corn with radishes, tomatoes, cucumber, shallots, basil, and shiso. If you're not familiar with shiso, this is a great introduction to the grassy, peppery herb.
Grilled Corn, Tomato, Feta, and Herb Salad
Tomato season is going to be over before you know it, so you should make the most of it while it's still here. This recipe pairs ripe tomatoes with grilled corn, plus salty feta and a variety of fresh herbs. With just a simple lemon and olive oil dressing most of the flavor is coming from the produce, so make sure to get the best you can find.
Pressure Cooker Corn Soup
Those of you without a pressure cooker will have to stick with corn chowder, but if you've made the investment then this corn soup is easier and arguably even more delicious. The magic comes from throwing in the cobs—the high pressure doesn't just bring out tons of flavor, but it also extracts enough starch to thicken the soup without the need for any cream.
Sweet and Savory Corn Casserole
Recipes for corn casserole vary, but we're partial to a version that has a nice balance of sweet and savory and that has a texture that's both custardy and hearty. We flavor our take on the dish with onion, red bell pepper, and fresh sage and cook it in a cast iron skillet, which can go seamlessly from stovetop to oven.
Corn and Zucchini Quesadillas
These quesadillas are filled with a summery mixture of sautéed corn, zucchini, and jalapeños, which we mix with the shredded Jack cheese so that everything melts together and doesn't fall out of the tortilla. Be sure to use plenty of oil when cooking the quesadilla so that the tortilla puffs up.
Zucchini-and-Corn Fritters With Herb Sour Cream
We keep the zucchini and corn combination going with these fritters, which combine the vegetables with onion, flour, egg, and grated cheese—the latter of which gives the fritters a gooey texture and helps the exteriors brown. The fritters don't really need a condiment, but sour cream mixed with fresh herbs is a welcome addition.
Quick and Easy Shrimp, Corn, and Tomatillo Salad
If your only experience with tomatillos is eating them cooked you're missing out—when raw they're refreshingly tart and crunchy. Here we mix raw sliced tomatillos with red bell pepper, scallion, serrano chili, chopped cilantro, and shrimp that are dry-brined and poached until perfectly tender.
Sautéed Corn With Chorizo, Cilantro, and Lime Juice
This easy salad uses just a handful of ingredients: corn, Spanish-style chorizo, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. We start by crisping up the chorizo in a skillet, then add the corn to let it char in the rendered fat. Cutting the kernels off the cob takes a little effort, but after that the dish comes together in minutes.
Steak and Corn Salad With Salsa Verde
For a more filling salad try this recipe, which takes leftover steak and serves it with grilled corn, red onion, and salsa verde—not the Mexican tomatillo-based variety, but Spanish salsa verde made with pickles, capers, anchovies, herbs, and olive oil. You'll never look at cold steak the same way again.
Steak and Corn Salad With Tomatillos and Ancho-Chili Vinaigrette
If you don't have any leftover steak lying around, then cook up a fresh spice-rubbed flank steak to make this warm salad. We pair the beef with charred corn kernels, white onion, and more tart raw tomatillos and dress with a lime vinaigrette. Cotija adds a little saltiness and chili powder ups the heat.
Chicken Salad With Avocado, Corn, and Miso Dressing
The key to this chicken salad is cooking the poultry sous vide, which makes it far more tender than is possible with traditional cooking methods. With the chicken out of the way you can focus on the other ingredients—we turn to Japan for inspiration and make the salad with corn, miso, avocado, Japanese mustard, and shichimi togarashi.
Summer Nachos With Tomatoes, Corn, Chicken, and Cheese
As much as I love a plate of our ultimate fully loaded nachos, I admit that they can be a little heavy (okay, fine, a lot heavy). This recipe makes nachos that are slightly less gut-busting but no less satisfying, topping the chips with corn, tomatoes, radishes, chicken, avocado, cheese, and barbecue sauce.
Quick and Easy Pork Fried Rice With Corn and Shishito Peppers
I rarely follow fried rice recipes because the dish is so well-suited to making use of whatever's in the fridge. But when I'm not throwing random leftovers into a wok, I turn to this recipe, which is made with corn, shishito peppers, and roasted pork (ham and bacon work too).
Frittata With Bacon, Corn, and Gruyère
Like fried rice, the beauty of a frittata is that you can throw in just about anything you'd like. In this case, that means plenty of fresh corn, a few slices of smoky bacon, and melty cheese (we like Gruyère). Rather than flipping the frittata we start in on the stove and use the broiler to set the top.
Savory Bacon-Cheddar Pancakes With Corn and Jalapeño
I'm not always in the mood for sweet breakfasts, so a stack of pancakes with syrup isn't usually my first choice. Much more up my alley are these savory pancakes studded with bacon, sautéed corn, jalapeño peppers, scallions, and cheddar. We like to keep the cheddar in cubes so that the pancakes end up with gooey pockets of cheese throughout.