The weather is playing all kinds of tricks on the Midwest, and quite frankly, my taste buds don’t know what to do about it.
After several weeks of rain and cold, when all I wanted to do was curl up with a big bowl of hearty soup, we’re back up into the upper 80s, which has me craving all things fresh! fast! and, gasp, summery!
I figure why fight it, so I did the damn thing and bought sweet corn – the culinary cornerstone of summertime in Iowa – at the grocery store this week. I know. It was $2 for 6 ears and I mentally scolded myself the entire time I shoved the unshucked ears into a bag.
It’s too early in the season for sweet corn! I tried to reason. Lord knows where it came from, not to mention half of it will taste like paste, the other half won’t taste like anything at all, and what will really kill you is that you had to shuck it all to find out!
I hate shucking corn.
Just then I looked up. The sign hanging above the display was splashed with encouraging words like Local! Iowa grown! and ‘Tis the season!…or something like that. Bingo! Apparently, because of the insanely warm winter and spring we’ve had, Iowa farmers are about 6 weeks ahead of schedule, and some sweet corn is now (barely) in season.
Sweet Corn & Quinoa with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette was added to this week’s menu on the spot!
This recipe, loaded with the bright and fresh summertime flavors of sweet corn, tart lemon, and warm honey, has been burning a hole in my back pocket for the past month now, and boy was I glad to have an excuse to make it.
Start the Sweet Corn & Quinoa by cooking the quinoa. Rinse 1 cup dry quinoa under running water in a fine mesh sieve, then combine it with 2 cups water in a saucepan.
Bring it to a boil then place a lid on top and cook until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.
While the quinoa’s doin’ it’s thang, make the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette that’s destined to be drizzled on top of the sweet corn & quinoa. It’s freaking amazing.
Just combine 1 Tablespoon lemon zest, 2 Tablespoons lemon juice,
1 microplaned garlic clove (BTW: this is the treasured microplane I use for zesting citrus fruits, microplaning garlic, etc. I love it!)
and 1 Tablespoon honey.
Add in salt & pepper, then shake it all up, and set it aside for a sec.
Next, chop up 2 green onions, and slice the kernels off of 2 ears sweet corn. OH DEAR SWEET CORN, how I’ve missed you!
The easiest way I know how to cut kernels off an ear of corn without using any fancy gadgets is to slice a strip of kernels off the ear, rotate it, then cut off another strip, etc. This ensures that no corn kernels will go flying around your kitchen!
Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the green onions and corn, season with salt & pepper, and saute for 3 minutes or so. I like my sweet corn crispy, but you can cook it longer than that if you want softer kernels.
Add the cooked quinoa on top, then pour on the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette.
Turn off the heat, then mix everything together so that each morsel is thoroughly covered in its sweet-tart lusciousness.
Taste, add more salt & pepper if necessary, then devour the creamy, citrusy-sweet concoction.
Sweet Corn & Quinoa with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
Adapted from Just a Taste
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons butter
2 green onions, sliced
2 ears sweet corn
salt & pepper
For the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette:
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, microplaned or finely minced
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Rinse quinoa thoroughly under running water in a fine mesh sieve. Combine with water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then place a lid on top and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette in a mason jar or small bowl, then shake or whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green onions and sweet corn, season with salt & pepper, then saute until corn is tender, about 3 minutes. Add in cooked quinoa and Honey Lemon Vinaigrette, then toss thoroughly to combine. Taste, add more salt & pepper if necessary, then serve.
This is summer. Right here, in this very bowl. 8)
The corn and honey are fresh and sweet, while the zest and juice from the lemon are clean and tangy. Creamy, salty butter wraps everything together into an unbelievably satisfying bite.
Sweet Corn & Quinoa is good piping hot, warm, or cold out of the refrigerator. Not that I couldn’t keep my fork out the leftovers at all stages of the cool down process and would know for certain, or anything…
If you can’t find good sweet corn in your area yet, put this in your recipe file for a couple months down the road, or try using frozen-then-thawed corn. Trader Joes’ frozen sweet corn is really, really good!
Which food are you most looking forward to devouring this summer?
I am waiting on pins and needles for watermelon and peaches!