pork chops topped with tomato-plum relish served atop
sweet corn and chive polenta.
of my favorite summer memories include sweet corn —
dripping with butter at the state fair; popped and salty at
the drive-in movie theater; slathered with mayonnaise,
cheese and chile powder at street festivals; sweet and
crunchy in salads at the family picnic.
this day, we love to stop on the way to the cabin near
Galena, Ill., and buy firm, tightly wrapped ears from local
farm stands. Two ears apiece for most of us, three for the
hearty eaters. The pot of salted water is set to boil before
we’ve unpacked the car. My family knows full well that the
closer the eating is to the picking, the sweeter the corn.
Sometimes, corn on the cob is dinner.
slice kernels from any excess cobs to transport easily back
to the city house. There, we turn the corn into fresh corn
polenta to serve with quick-grilling pork chops. Other
kernels get tucked into a cold salad to pack for lunches.
summer my fresh corn salad sees a change-up. This summer, I’m
crazy about creamy white choclo corn from Peru. The slightly
nutty-tasting kernels are more than four times the size of
summertime sweet corn — and not sweet — so the contrast
between the two when eaten together is terrific. It’s sold
frozen in large bags (look for "choclo desgranado"
— shelled — from Goya) at Latino grocery stores. I stock
it for use in ceviche, soups, stews, side dishes and the
salad recipe that follows below. It just needs a gentle boil
in salted water to soften it to a toothsome texture. You can
substitute canned choclo or hominy; just rinse it well, and
skip the boiling.
Joe’s sells Giant Peruvian Inca Corn as a salted and
roasted snack — kind of like toasted and salted corn nuts.
Both are great as a garnish on salads, adding ginormous corn
might sound like a cold weather dish, but laced with sweet
corn kernels, both pureed and whole, it’s light, nearly
fluffy. The recipe that follows can be made in advance,
freeing up the cook to pay attention to other vegetables or
items cooking on the grill.
grill pork chops all summer long for their versatility and
their affinity with sweet corn. For family meals, I select
lean, boneless loin chops or the pleasingly chewy blade
chop. When we’re having people over, I splurge and
purchase bone-in, center cut rib chops. They are gorgeous,
lean, yet juicy.
between 1 1/2 inches and 2 inches thick cook beautifully on
the grill. Thinner ones dry out easily; thicker ones prove
difficult to cook properly. For added flavor and moistness,
I soak them in a sweet-salty whiskey brine. You’ll be
amazed at the lovely whiskey flavor that comes through the
chop. I dollop a simple, fresh relish of plums and tomatoes
over the pork and serve with polenta on the side.
even more summer corn goodness, I make cornbread croutons
from store-bought cornbread. It barely takes 10 minutes, and
these crispy, sweet nuggets elevate any summer salad. Try
them as a garnish on the sweet-corn polenta or on a chicken
salad. Or, toss with a bit of sugar, toast them extra crispy
and then crumble over vanilla ice cream topped with caramel
AND EDAMAME SALAD
6 to 8 servings
taking this on a picnic or to a potluck, make the lemon
vinaigrette in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, and transport
it separately. Toss it all together shortly before serving.
frozen shelled edamame or small lima beans, thawed
fresh sweet corn kernels, from about 4 small ears
frozen choclo corn, optional (or drained, canned hominy)
tablespoon white wine vinegar
tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
tablespoon fresh lemon juice
cup vegetable oil
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
tablespoon lemon oil or grated rind from 1/2 lemon
teaspoon Dijon mustard
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
cherry or grape tomatoes of assorted colors, halved
cup chopped fresh chives
cup chopped fresh basil leaves
cup broken tortilla chips or toasted, salted Peruvian corn,
optional for garnish
Heat a large saucepan of salted water to boiling. Add choclo
corn. Return water to boil, then simmer until corn is nearly
tender, about 5 minutes. Add edamame and return water to
boil; simmer until the edamame is nearly tender, about 4
minutes. Add sweet corn kernels and simmer 1 minute. Drain
and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
a large bowl, whisk together vinegars, lemon juice, oils,
mustard, salt and pepper. Add the drained corn and edamame.
Stir in tomatoes. Let stand, stirring often, about 15
minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
Stir in chives and basil. Serve garnished with chips or
Peruvian corn for crunch.
information per serving: 161 calories, 12 g fat, 1 g
saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g
sugar, 4 g protein, 169 mg sodium, 3 g fiber
CORN AND CHIVE POLENTA
for instant polenta in the imported foods aisle of large
supermarkets, or order it online. This polenta is delicious
reheated — just stir in a little butter if it seems dry. I
also like it cold with sliced juicy tomatoes and chopped
arugula for a summertime lunch.
small sweet onion, such as Vidalia, finely chopped
fresh sweet corn kernels, from 5 to 6 small ears corn
ground black pepper
pearls of fresh mozzarella, optional
cornbread croutons, optional (see recipe below)
Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion
and saute until golden brown and soft, about 5 minutes. Stir
in half of the corn kernels, and set aside. Puree the
remaining corn kernels in a blender or food processor until
Heat broth and salt in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over
medium heat to a simmer. Whisking constantly, add the
polenta in a slow steady stream until the mixture is smooth.
Reduce heat to very low. Cook, stirring often with a wooden
spoon, until the mixture is thick and creamy, about 5
minutes. (Use a splatter guard to prevent getting splashed
with hot polenta.)
Stir corn puree into the polenta. Cook and stir on low for 2
minutes. Stir in onion-corn mixture, and simmer a few
minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve
garnished with plenty of chives. Top with mozzarella and/or
cornbread croutons if desired.
cornbread croutons: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 8
ounces (about 4 large baked squares) into 1/2-inch pieces.
Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until edges
are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely. Store
wrapped in foil for a day or so.
information per serving: 235 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g
saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 34 g carbohydrates, 3 g
sugar, 6 g protein, 254 mg sodium, 4 g fiber
PORK CHOPS WITH TOMATO-PLUM RELISH
1 hour to 4 hours
cup kosher salt
cup dark brown sugar
tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
bone-in center-cut rib chops, each 11/2 to 2 inches thick,
total about 4 pounds
2 or 3
medium-size red skinned plums, halved, pitted
cup very finely chopped red onion
2 or 3
cups assorted colors small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 whole small serrano chile, seeded, minced
tablespoon chopped fresh mint
tablespoon chopped fresh basil
for high-heat cooking, such as grapeseed, safflower or
corn and chive polenta, see recipe
the brine, put whiskey, kosher salt, brown sugar and
Worcestershire sauce into a large bowl. Stir in 3 cups water
until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the pork chops,
so they are completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate,
turning chops once or twice, 1 to 4 hours. Remove chops from
brine; pat dry, and refrigerate up to 1 day.
the tomato-plum relish, grate about 1/4 teaspoon of the lime
rind into a bowl. Squeeze the lime, and add 1 tablespoon
juice to the bowl. Very thinly slice the plum halves and add
to the bowl. Place the onion in a sieve or colander, and
rinse it under running water and shake it dry. Add to the
bowl. Stir in the tomatoes, chile, mint, basil, sugar and
salt. Let stand at room temperature.
chops stand at room temperature while setting up the grill.
Prepare a charcoal grill, and let coals burn until they are
covered with gray ash. Or, preheat a gas grill until
Lightly oil chops, then place them on the grill directly
over the heat. Cook covered for 3 minutes. Flip and cook the
second side 2 minutes. Move chops to the side of the grill
with no heat. Cover the grill, and cook until chops are
nearly firm to the touch, usually 5 to 8 more minutes. An
instant-read thermometer inserted away from the bone should
register 140 degrees. Remove chops to a platter, tent with
foil and let stand a few minutes.
Serve chops topped with the tomato-plum relish accompanied
by the sweet corn polenta.
information per serving: 324 calories, 15 g fat, 4 g
saturated fat, 119 mg cholesterol, 7 g carbohydrates, 5 g
sugar, 39 g protein, 700 mg sodium, 1 g fiber