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The last hurrah, II

Alright, world. Today I have just three words for you, and I hope you’ll remember them, because it’s important. They are brown, and buttered, and corn. They’re what you’ll be having for dinner tonight, if you know what’s good for you. I certainly hope you do.

Of course, now that I’ve said that, I should admit that I won’t be having any, I fear, but you shouldn’t let that stop you. It’s just that I’ve got some sort of stomach bug, the kind that feels best when I’m either a) in the bathtub, b) in the fetal position, or c) chewing Pepto Bismol tablets. But I couldn’t let that stop me from limping out here to tell you about this truly lovely stuff. That’s how good it is. I got out of bed today just to tell you about it, and that’s really saying something.

I made this corn on Saturday night for our birthday dinner party - I seems that I forgot to mention it, but Brandon’s birthday was a week ago today, and mine was last Friday - and between six of us, we made quick work of a double batch. We also roasted a chicken, tossed some Romano beans with lemon and olive oil, and ate an entire plum crumble with vanilla ice cream. My mother flew out for the occasion and, I should add, did a bang-up job of browning a saucepan full of butter without ever putting down her champagne glass. One of us even wound up drinking red wine straight from the bottle, but I won’t say who. I will just say this: that you really should try that brown buttered corn.

The recipe, which is as simple as can possibly be, comes from the New York Times, from an article by Melissa Clark that ran a couple of weeks ago, on September 5th. As soon as I saw it, I printed it out and plunked it on the countertop, and boy oh boy, am I ever glad I did. All it takes is a few ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut free, and a half stick of butter, some herbs, and some salt. You toss the butter into a saucepan and let it simmer until it darkens to a deep golden hue and smells like those toasted nuts that they sell out of steel drums on the sidewalk in Paris. Then you add the corn and the salt and stir it around a bit, and five minutes later, you’ve got a stunner of a side dish, the sweetness of corn cloaked in dark, nutty butter and brightened with palm’s worth of parsley. It’s nobody’s diet fare, sure, but corn season is almost over, and do you really think, come mid-winter, that you’ll regret having spent these last moments of summer in a sea of caramelly butter? I don’t think so. It’s a real lip-licker of a last hurrah.

In fact, as soon as I work my way back up from toast, I’m going straight to the market for some more corn.

Brown Buttered Corn
Adapted from The New York Times

This recipe doubles beautifully. We had six people for dinner, and a double batch was just right.

3 ears corn, shucked
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 sprigs thyme, preferably lemon thyme
Kosher salt
Finely chopped Italian parsley, for serving

Stand one ear of corn vertically on a cutting board or inside a large, shallow wooden bowl. (Using a bowl helps to keep kernels from darting all over the countertop, and using a wooden bowl – such as a salad bowl – is much better for your knife than a metal one.) Using a sawing motion, run a large knife down the ear, between the cob and kernels, to remove the kernels. Using the back of the knife, scrape the bare cob to release the corn’s juices. Repeat with remaining ears of corn. Set kernels and their juices aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the thyme sprigs, and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter turns a deep shade of amber and smells nutty. Add the corn kernels, their juices, and a large pinch of salt, and stir well. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the corn is tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove and discard the thyme sprigs, and season to taste with salt. Serve hot, with a smattering of chopped parsley.

Yield: 4 servings


Blogger eviedee said...

Sorry to hear that you aren't well! Corn is the summer vegetable that I can't get enough of this year. (I FINALLY learned how to grill it properly so I have consumed enough to outfit the entire nation with a new set of "ears"). Since my grill is now in storage this sounds like a fabulous way to have a last hurrah of my own.

3:17 PM, September 17, 2007  
Anonymous Robyn said...

I also made this recipe last week but I pureed half the corn (also a Melissa Clark suggestion) and mixed it back into the whole kernels. It was the best creamed corn I've ever had. Deeeelicious! A perfect way to use the 6 ears of corn in our CSA basket.

3:21 PM, September 17, 2007  
Blogger aubrey said...

yucky, i'm sorry that you're sick. but happy late birthday last friday! the corn sounds delicious. thanks for sharing the recipe!

4:15 PM, September 17, 2007  
Anonymous Laura said...

I love browned butter anything!! My favorite is popcorn dressed with browned butter and salt served in large bowls alongside of a plate of sharp cheddar cheese, apples and dried cherries. So good! I'll have to try it while the fresh corn is still (just barely)nice here.

5:06 PM, September 17, 2007  
Blogger Kate F. said...

I made the sauce version of this, too, and served it over broiled sole fillets. Even my fish-hating husband was charmed! I'm running three weeks late on blog posts, though, so who knows when I'll ever write it up...

5:24 PM, September 17, 2007  
Blogger Lynn said...

sorry to hear you are not feeling well!!! I love corn. I grill it and then cut the kernels then add the other last hurrah (tomatoes) and cucumber add a little ranch dressing chill then serve!! yummy!!
Happy Belated Birthday to you and Brandon.

5:33 PM, September 17, 2007  
Blogger Kirsten said...

Happy Birthday/Get Well - whichever suits you best today.

I just this weekend did a similar version with a bit of onion, red pepper and zuccini confetti, and the first of chanterells. was yummy, but as i read this, i think, why did i not let that butter mature? ours was just plain old melted. good enough at the time, but now humbled. Thanks, as always, for bringing good flavors together! And kudos to your mom - if wine is near I go from brown to "let's start again" too quickly.

5:50 PM, September 17, 2007  
Anonymous Lauren said...

Radishes are another vibrant veggie that really compliment corn. If I have one around I dice it the size of the kernals-maybe a little bigger-and mix it in right before service. The bright pink or red of the radish looks so festive nestled in the corn.

A trick for removing the corn from the cobb: set your mandoline at the sidest setting and slice away!

5:56 PM, September 17, 2007  
Blogger Sophik said...

I hope you feel better soon!... I ..(a more recent addition to your growing community of grateful readers ..*we LOVED your asparagus flan by the way!).. have been meaning to write you a letter of sorts about our time in Paris. We vacationed there for a week.. during a trip where we bounced around europe for a little less than a month. Hopefully I'll get around to this letter soon... it's a long one. Feel better!!.. and as always, thanks so much for the incredible recipes.

6:02 PM, September 17, 2007  
Blogger Mercedes said...

First off, feel better soon!
Ever since I read that our drought could cut short our local corn season, I can't help but buy it whenever I'm at the market. What if this is the last batch, I think suddenly in a panic. Corn is truly summer, and with it goes flip-flops and short sleeves and the excuse to run away from work and play in the park on a sunny afternoon.
My dearest companion, who is beginning to take a 'not corn again' attitude, will certainly welcome this change of pace. As for me, I'm just happy to have an excuse to buy sweet white silver queen corn again, while I still can.

6:19 PM, September 17, 2007  
Blogger Casey said...

Don't know how I missed this recipe, but thanks for bringing it to our attention. It sounds fabulous.
Hope you soon progress past toast and what my grandfather called Pepsi Dismal.

7:41 PM, September 17, 2007  
Anonymous Lindsay said...

Peanut sauce, tomatoes and corn?!? The last three posts have been all my favorites! I can't wait to try this buttery, corny, nutty goodness. I'm heading to the Farmers Market in downtown Portland tomorrow to pick me some corn! I had a fabulous salad of sugar-sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh corn, red onion, celery and blue cheese. Summer on a plate!
Sorry to hear you're not feeling well, sip some tea and let Brandon take care of you!

12:25 AM, September 18, 2007  
Anonymous Joy of Cooking said...

FYI, the steel drum/shopping cart/cooking contraption seen in Paris is also used to cook corn on the cob! Thankful I am, it's my only sort of pseudo bbq experience in the city. I would assume that this recipe gets a really similar flavor. yum.

3:38 AM, September 18, 2007  
Blogger M&Ms... said...

Nice picture and delicious recipe...Happy Birthday!
This has always been my favourite side dish (easy to make and bursting with flavor) I tend to use whatever herbs I have leftover...
Love the tomato tapenade too!

5:18 AM, September 18, 2007  
Anonymous Caroline in DC said...

It seems like I missed the boat for corn; I went to the store planning to buy some yesterday and it had already been replaced by pumpkins and winter squash. Not that I don't love those things dearly, but I'm not quite ready to embrace them yet.

My last hurrah is to do as much grilling as I can while the weather is still beautiful. This week I'm moving the kitchen outside to make terriyaki salmon kebabs, grilled chicken breasts with pesto, and good old fashioned burgers.

6:16 AM, September 18, 2007  
Anonymous Hillary said...

I was just eating sweet corn last week with my mom. She slathered butter all over her cob while I ate mine plain right from the boiling water and cringed at her. I never thought corn needed anything extra, but you may have changed me with this post...Shh, don't tell my mom. Feel better!

9:15 AM, September 18, 2007  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Ouch, Molly, feel better soon! And Happy Birthday to you both! This sounds delish - I will try it tonight or this weekend when I have a house guest! Thanks! I posted about corn today, too - great minds run in the same channels!

11:52 AM, September 18, 2007  
Anonymous swirlingnotions said...

I'm the descendent of Illinois corn farmers and I miss my daily ear out here in California. Thanks for the recipe! Thanks, too, for the romano bean link. I've got a glut in the garden and have been looking for ways to use them.

Feel better soon!

1:01 PM, September 18, 2007  
Anonymous Meryl said...

ohh, sounds SO good! thanks for posting, and I hope you feel better soon. Stomach bugs are the worst!

1:07 PM, September 18, 2007  
Blogger Barbra said...

I really enjoy your blog -- food always tastes better in context. As for brown butter, I like to brown a pound or two, chill it, wrap it and put it away to use in all kinds of things, but especially baked goods (be sure to measure the butter after browning). It occurs to me that cornbread would be especially good made with brown butter!

4:34 PM, September 18, 2007  
Anonymous Julie said...

Here's hoping that you continue your birthday celebration as soon as you feel up to it, m'dear. Birthdays call for at least a couple of weeks worth of celebrating, and your bug must have cut that short. Get well soon!

You had me at "brown butter" as you well know. And corn-hounds that we are, this sounds like a perfect way to enjoy the last of the season, sniff sniff.

5:52 AM, September 19, 2007  
Anonymous mary said...

So sorry you aren't feeling well, thanks for getting out of bed to share this with us. I made it yesterday and it was fantabulous.

11:03 AM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger Jessica said...

Hey, lady. I hope you're feeling much better by now. :) Brown butter makes a fabulous sauce for many things-- as fall approaches, consider a browned-butter ravioli with balsamic reduction. A former roommate of mine ate this daily one fall/winter.

Happy belated Birthday for both you and your mister! Lucky you fell under the weather after the fact.

12:55 PM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Ooh, Eviedee, will you share your method for grilled corn? Please? Pretty please?

Robyn, that sounds amazing. I'm going to have to try that...

You're very welcome, Aubrey! And thank you for the birthday wishes.

Wow, Laura. I'd never thought of that! Popcorn dressed in brown butter! Must. Try. That. Immediately!

Kate F., I want to try that sauce version too. The recipe is waiting on the kitchen counter...

Lynn, corn + tomatoes + cucumber + Ranch dressing sounds like summer itself. Delicious.

Ooh, Kirsten, try that confetti of yours again with brown butter! I can only imagine how wonderful it would be. Zow.

I agree, Lauren! I love radishes with corn. One of my standby summer dishes, a warm corn salad, uses radishes (and green beans, and red onions, and lime juice, and thyme). So very good.

Oh Sophik, please do write and tell me all about it! "Bouncing" around Europe sounds like my kind of trip...

I hear you, Mercedes! Oh corn, sweet sweet corn.

Thank you, Casey. I'm happy to report that I have indeed moved up from toast. Today I even managed a real lunch - and with no stomach pains! It's about time. Whew.

Thanks for the well wishes, Lindsay. Your tomato-corn-blue cheese salad sounds right up my alley...

I had forgotten that about corn on the cob, Joy of Cooking! Hope you've had plenty of "pseudo bbq" this summer.

I agree, M&Ms. I think many different herbs could be lovely here...

Happy grilling, Caroline!

Your secret is safe with me, Hillary! Sometimes I'm like your mom, and sometimes I'm like you, so I see both sides of the story. But oh, brown butter! Brown butter...

Zoomie, your chowder looks spectacular! Wish I could zip over for a bowlful - and for that view of yours. So good. xo

Oh, swirlingnotions, you lucky thing! I love Romano beans. They might well be my favorite summer bean. So meaty and sweet.

They certainly are the worst, Meryl! I'm feeling much better today, though. Phew!

What a smart idea, Barbra. Love it! And I agree completely about cornbread and brown butter. It hadn't occurred to me until you mentioned it, but they'd be a stellar pair.

Julie, that's right! You are a great advocate of brown butter, aren't you? Girl after my own heart! xo

I'm so glad to hear that you made it, Mary! Thank you for letting me know.

Jessica, Brandon is going to especially love the idea of that ravioli. He makes a pasta dish that's very similar, and it's so good. Thanks for reminding us!

3:18 PM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger hello jamie: said...

Molly, the easiest way I have found to cut kernels of a cob of corn is a circular bundt pan. Stand it up in the hole and all the corn drops into the bowl part.

It could also be good with dill. My Thanksgiving creamed corn has dill in it and always receives rave reviews. Although I might try lemon thyme next year!!

5:35 PM, September 19, 2007  
Blogger kate said...

This sounds like something I could make ... and delicious. It must have been memorable if you were sick and still posted the recipe. I hope you are feeling better!

7:04 PM, September 19, 2007  
Anonymous mb said...

To borrow someone else's slogan
"Its whats for dinner"
Even my kids are going to flip out. Two teenagers who love browned butter ANYTHING
I do hope you are feeling better very soon - but thanks a hundred times for this recipe. There is a corn salad recipe on Epicurious that starts out like this - but I had never thought of just stopping at browned butter on corn with some herbs!


10:08 AM, September 20, 2007  
Blogger Kevin Kossowan said...

I'd eat anything with brown butter. As long as it wouldn't kill me, that is.

7:30 PM, September 20, 2007  
Anonymous Hillary said...

I know you're so so busy, but I tagged you in a meme on my blog. The question was "What five foods are you ashamed to love?" Hard I know...cause no one should ever be ashamed of food.

12:25 PM, September 21, 2007  
Blogger Maryam in Marrakesh said...

That sounds crazy delicious but unfortunately in Marrakech there is virtually no corn that is not fit only for horses. It is a tragedy:-(

12:10 AM, September 23, 2007  
Blogger Marika said...

I tried this last night with some corn I had from the farmer's market. YUM! The thyme was genius. Need more corn!!!

6:54 AM, September 23, 2007  
Anonymous Caroline said...

I thought corn was over for the season... I am happy to think I am wrong! I missed corn this season. Somehow I was just looking the other way and all the good corn days slipped right by me. But, alas... perhaps not too late afterall! I will try it this week.

Every try fresh ginger tea on the tum? I peel a huge piece and slice it up (1/2 -1 cup at least) and boil it in a small pan of water. Strain it and sip.

2:57 PM, September 23, 2007  
Blogger Natalie said...

I made this tonight and it was fabulous!

6:17 PM, September 23, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Jamie, that Bundt pan trick is genius! Thank you.

It was most definitely memorable, Kate! Worth getting off the couch for.

So, mb, how did they like it? I hope it was a big hit...

That's an excellent rule to live by, Kevin. Very, very smart.

Hillary, that's sweet of you to think of me, even though - I have to admit - I'm a little skittish about memes. But as for those five foods I'm ashamed to love, hmm. Let's see. I guess I do feel a little lame about my love for Frosted Mini Wheats, and I really love hot dogs, no matter how nasty people tell me they are. You can also count me in on those Nabisco Pinwheels cookies, the ones with marshmallow and chocolate. (Oh, sweet sweet Pinwheels!) And though I haven't had them for a dozen years or so, I'll bet I'd still love Cheetos...

Oh no, Maryam! That's terrible. You should start some sort of campaign. Edible corn for Marrakesh!

Oh, I'm so glad, Marika. So glad to know you liked it.

Thanks for the ginger tea suggestion, Caroline! Our friend Sam recommended something similar, but at the time, in the thick of my stomach ache, it just didn't sound good. It's a smart thing to have my arsenal of remedies, though. Most definitely.

Terrific, Natalie! So glad to hear it.

3:58 PM, September 24, 2007  
Anonymous Jen said...

Oh.My.God. This was so good! You posted right after I bought corn and picked lemon thyme from my garden, so this recipe was tailor-made for us. Thank you for such a simple and spectacular dish!

4:59 PM, September 24, 2007  
Blogger Juree said...

Hi Molly,

I have been an avid reader of your blog for the last year and just love reading your posts! I absolutely love corn and wanted to suggest that you visit a restaurant called "Al di la" the next time you visit NYC (http://www.aldilatrattoria.com) . It is in Park Slope, Brooklyn and while everything they serve is simply masterful (think the trattoria in "Big Night"), their Tortelli with Corn filled with fresh sweet corn, mascarpone, and truffle butter is truly one of the most heavenly things I have ever eaten.

Thanks for the recipe-- i will try using it before the good corn goes away....

4:09 PM, September 25, 2007  
Blogger Thea said...

Oh, that sounds delicious! I hope I haven't completely missed out on the corn (though I suspect I might have)...

2:25 PM, October 05, 2007  
Blogger mrszahller said...

After his first bite my husband dropped his fork and asked in awe, "What did you do to this corn?". Best reaction to dinner I've had in a long time - thank you!

11:27 AM, October 29, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe I have ever had a simple corn dish that was this tasy, Molly.

8:29 AM, November 19, 2007  
Blogger tannaz said...

dinner tonight: a handful of fresh arugula, this corn (you may have had your last hurrah 3 months ago, but sunday at the farmer's market, the white corn was so sweet and poppy that they had a bowl of fresh, raw kernels out as samples) spooned over the arugula while still hot to just wilt it a bit, and homemade breadcrumbs, toasted in the leftover butter with sage. soooo good!

8:12 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Il Fornaio said...

This recipe popped in my head last night out of no where and the three super sweet ears of corns I had just bought got cooked in a pot of brown butter-- and hoo-ly why didn't I try this before? Now I'm cramming this in as often as I can while the corn is still showing up (tomorrow at the farmers market, you better believe I am stocking up)

1:28 PM, October 07, 2008  

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