Redwood Falls Gazette
  • Fresh is best

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  • If you think the two kinds of corn are the white kind and the yellow kind, you’re sadly misinformed. There are two kinds, but they’re the eating kind and the other kind.
    The other kind is really many other kinds, and they do everything from fueling cars (as ethanol) to sweetening processed foods (as high-fructose corn syrup) to getting Uncle Horace to do his Liberace impression (as bourbon).
    What you find at markets and farm stands is the eating kind, which has a genetic variation that makes it sweet. That variation, though, has several variations of its own. What’s called “normal sugary” is the kind of corn your grandmother waxes nostalgic about. Its flavor is sweet and corny, its texture is creamy, and it makes for an eating experience unequalled in the vegetable world.
    Unfortunately, it’s not well adapted to the global economy; its sugar starts turning to starch the instant it’s picked.
    Enter the corn scientists (now there’s a job), with “supersweet” and “sugary enhanced” corn. Both are sweeter than the old-school kind and convert sugar to starch more slowly. The downside is that the kernels are tougher and the flavor is less corny. It’s pretty good corn, but not the stuff that nostalgia is made of.
    Look for Grandma’s corn at farm stands and produce markets. It goes by many names: Silver Queen or Jubilee or Sundance. If it’s got “crisp” or “sweet” in the name, it’s likely to be the newfangled kind. To be sure, ask the farmer. Buy corn that’s just been picked and hasn’t been sitting in the sun (heat speeds the sugar-to-starch conversion). Once you get it, refrigerate it ASAP. Steam it for a few minutes, and now you’ve got something to tell your grandchildren about.
    Corn and Orzo Salad with Arugula Pesto
    Yield 8 servings
    For the pesto:
    • 3 T chopped walnuts (about 1 ounce)
    • 1 1/2 cups packed arugula
    • 1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley
    • 1 garlic clove, pressed
    • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 T lemon juice
    • 3 T grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
    • 1/2 t coarse salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    For the salad:
    • 1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
    • 2 cups fresh corn kernels
    • 1 cup cucumber, cut into small cubes (about 1 medium cucumber)
    • 2 large plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise into wedges
    • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
    To prepare pesto, place walnuts in processor and finely chop. Add arugula and parsley; pulse to coarsely chop. With motor running, add garlic, oil, lemon juice, cheese, salt and pepper and process until blended.
    To prepare salad, cook orzo according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cold running water and drain well. Transfer to a large bowl. Add corn, pesto and cucumber and mix gently. Spoon onto serving plates and garnish with tomatoes and feta.
    Page 2 of 2 - — Recipe by Jean Kressy
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