Southwestern Corn Saute – Simple in execution, complex in flavor, this is an easy weeknight side full of flavor and versatile enough to work with whatever ingredients you have on hand.
With Summer winding down, I’m trying to go through the last of the fresh corn I have access to before season is over. If you’re looking for a quick, non-grilled whole corn on the cob recipe, then this southwestern corn saute is for you. Cooking the kernels from the cob works well with colorful and aromatic herbs, spices, and vegetables. The trick is to choose those ingredients that flavor the dish without overpowering or canceling out the natural sweetness of the corn.
I’ve made a version of this recipe many times over the years. It’s always a hit with family and friends. I served it at cookout during our recent summer vacation in Martha’s Vineyard where we were able to connect with both old and new friends in what I can only say was one of the best familial experiences I’ve had in a long time. I use the term family broadly as it is described in Blood Orange’s new video for the song “Charcoal Baby.” As the narrator explains in the opening of the video:
“You ask me what family is, and I think of family as community. I think of the spaces where you don’t have to shrink yourself, where you don’t have to pretend or to perform. You can fully show up and be vulnerable in silence, completely empty, and that’s completely enough. You show up as you are, without judgment, without ridicule, without fear or violence or policing or containment, and you can be there, and you’re filled all the way up. We get to choose our families. We are not limited by biology. We get to make ourselves, and we get to make our family.”
Surround yourself with people who allow you to be you…
How do I pick the freshest corn on the cob?
When I’m at the supermarket I see shoppers meticulously examining fresh ears of corn. You ever wonder what they’re looking for? I assume everyone has their own methods of picking the freshest, sweetest ears. Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at picking the right ones, by following a few tips I learned from my farmer’s market friends. Go with ones that have bright green leaves that haven’t begun to wilt. Pinch or squeeze the tips of the ears to test for full, juicy ears.; there should be some give. If they’ve already been shucked or covered in saran wrap, just skip and go to the frozen vegetables aisle.
Is There A Shortcut/Quick Way To Cook Corn on the Cob?
If you’re pressed for time or just want to avoid turning on the stove during the hot summer, as odd as it sounds microwaving provides an express version of cooked corn on the cob. I’m more of the microwave is a tool for heating/warming foods vs. a method of cooking, but when it comes to corn on the cob shortcuts, I’ve found my inner Mark Bittman. Microwaving is great for cooking a few ears. You simply heat the corn (in their husks) on high for 5 minutes. The husks serve the purpose of sealing the heat inside which essentially steams the corn. After microwaving let the corn sit and cool for 3-4 minutes then shuck carefully. If the corn is still too hot to handle, use a kitchen towel or simply wait a few extra minutes. Microwaving has the added bonus making the ears much easier to shuck.
What is the easiest way to cut corn kernels off the cob?
When you make this southwestern corn sauce recipe, try the following technique for a no mess, easy way to slice corn off the cob. If you bake a lot and have a Bundt pan take set an ear of corn vertically with the thicker end sits over the hole of the Bundt pan. Don’t worry if you don’t have a Bundt pan, as you can create a make shift one using two bowls (one small and one large). Place the smaller bowl turned upside down inside the larger bowl. The smaller bowl will act as base for which to set the ear of corn while cutting. Use a small, very sharp knife to slice the corn off the cob, turning the ear as you go.
Can I use frozen or canned corn in this recipe?
I prefer to use the corn cut from the cob, but when fresh corn isn’t available, frozen corn is the next best alternative. Canned corn works, but obviously will not be as fresh. Be sure to drain well first if using canned.
Can I make any or all of the recipe ahead of time?
The corn can definitely be cooked and cut from the cob then stored in the refrigerator. Likewise you can chopped the vegetables and herbs chopped, a day in advance; I wouldn’t go any more than a day though. Keep all refrigerated until ready to use.
Southwestern Corn Saute
If you make this quick and flavorful Southwestern Corn Saute please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them. You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.
For another corn based recipe try this Grilled Corn with Vegan Crema.
Southwestern Corn Saute
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3-1/3 cups fresh corn or 1 package 16 ounces frozen corn
- 1 peached pitted and chopped
- 1 red onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 1 avocado pitted, diced
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
Add garlic, half the cumin and chili powder cooking for 1-2 minutes just enough to infuse the oil with flavor.
Increase heat to medium high then add red onions cooking for a minute. Add the corn; cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until tender.
Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in peaches, salt, pepper, remaining cumin and chili powder, and lime juice. Cook 2-3 minutes longer or until heated through.
Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and avocado.
If using frozen corn don’t forget to defrost before cooking.