It's Almost Corn Season! Charred Corn and Zucchini Tacos


Can anyone else simply not wait for corn season to start? It's just about upon us, and though I haven't seen any local corn yet, some decently sweet and flavorful stuff has started rolling in from south of the border.

The best way to eat corn is of course as elotes or esquites, the Mexican street-snack of grilled corn with cheese, chile, lime, and cream. Or maybe the best way is to bury it underground with a heap of seaweed, chouriço, lobsters, and clams for a traditional New England clam bake.

Oh no, wait. It's gotta be corn chowder, or—oh oh (!), know—sauteed with butter and beans into savory succotash.

OK, so it's good pretty much no matter how you cook it. Here's another one to add to your arsenal: individual kernels charred in a skillet. By separating the kernels from the ear (check out our Knife Skills video for more on that) and cooking them over crazy high heat in a skillet with a bit of oil, the kernels get deeply charred while still retaining a sweet bite. It's my go-to method to cook corn indoors because it allows you to capture some of that smoky, complex, sweet flavor of grilled corn.

It's a fantastic method to make as a quick side for chicken, pork, or seafood dishes, but it's great as the centerpiece of a simple vegetable-based meal as well (you can add some crisp cooked bacon and cook the corn in the bacon fat if you want to up your meat factor). Add some cubed-up, hard-seared zucchini or summer squash cubes; a bit of onion, garlic; and hot chile; and a big squeeze of lime, and you've got a snack that's good enough to eat out of a bowl, and flavorful enough to take on the starring role in a taco.

I serve mine with some homemade salsa verde (this recipe calls for boiling the ingredients, but I prefer to char them under the broiler until tender—about 20 minutes), a sprinkle of Cotija cheese, a drizzle of Mexican cream, and extra lime wedges on the side.

Check out the full recipe »