Happy Corn

by Matt on July 19, 2007


Because of my need to organize just about everything in my life (OCD, anyone?), I’ve always mentally attached a personality or characteristic to colors, shapes and even food. I know I know, it sounds strange, but I’ve learned to accept that my brain short circuits on occasion and so far it has served me well.  When it comes to food, starchy winter root vegetables are the strong silent types, not necessarily the most exciting but always sturdy and dependable. Scotch Bonnets and anything higher up on the Scoville chart are loud, brassy and fine to have over once in a while but will go through your cabinets and put their feet up on the couch and leave reminders that they invaded if you’re not careful. Baby lettuces? So sweet and prim. Figs? Too cool and you’re lucky to hang out with them if they let you–they never stick around long enough.

And then there’s the happiest, friendliest of all vegetables: corn. Never one to complain, corn will stand in just about anywhere and everywhere, allowing herself to be enjoyed in almost any capacity we can think of. And believe me, we’ve done some pretty crazy things with her. And it’s safe to say that our relationship (because, yes, it is a relationship) goes back hundreds of years, and she’s given  civilizations power, fuel, oil, sweeteners, packaging and sustenance. We’ve helped her along the entire way and it’s safe to say we need her and she needs us.

I like that in a friend. And see? I told you I was strange.


I recently found this recipe on O Olive Oils’ web site. I am rekindling my love with O after many years of being obsessed with Spanish oils…it’s that eat local thing, you know? Anyway, grill corn, cut it off the cob, drizzle it with Tahitian lime oil, and man oh man heaven is knocking at your doorstep. Seriously. And while late summer’s glorious corn bounty hasn’t arrived just yet you can still find some great ears out there.

Grill Corn & Feta Salad
This is much more of a serving suggestion than a recipe, but if you want quantities email me and I’ll measure which is my way of saying I’ll make this over and over again under the guise of helping someone out. Sneaky, eh?

Remove husks from fresh corn and grill all sides until charred and slightly smoky. Shave the corn kernels off the cob and toss with feta cheese, fresh chopped cilantro and kosher salt. Dress the entire salad with O Tahitian Lime Olive Oil. Enjoy.

Note: You don’t have to use O brand, but trust me, it adds another dimension to the salad that might be missing without that lime element. If you were born with that pesky genetic condition that makes cilantro taste like soap then 1) Call your parents and yell at them and 2) Substitute parsley or watercress in this salad.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

West July 19, 2007 at 8:56 am

good stuff! It’s so funny that you speak of these foods as “friends”. Shrinks will tell you “food is not your friend”. How wrong they are! Who doesn’t want to go to a nice plate of chicken and dumplings on a cold winter day. Who doesn’t grab that bottle of Tapatio to spice things up a little.

This has probably been one of my favorite blogs I have read from you….maybe the best in a few days from anyone. (and I subscribe to quite a few)

Anyway….I’ve been seeing more and more corn on the TV food shows (fire roasted, etc..) and I’m pretty interested in trying it out. Thanks for the fun article!

Steve July 19, 2007 at 9:49 am

Man, I love me some corn!

Corn bread, in particular, might just be my absolute favorite thing in the world. As long as it’s moist — nobody likes dry, crumbly corn bread!

Grilling corn on the cob is also just AMAZING. It always tastes so much better than you remembered on a warm summer evening.

There’s something so familiar about the taste of recipes made with corn. :-D Yum.

Laura July 19, 2007 at 11:22 am

You know, I recently figured out why homemade salsas bug me — it’s that darned pesky soap thing. It leaves the /worst/ aftertaste for the rest of the day, too…

At least having identified it, I can move on to figuring out how to just avoid cilantro, instead of avoiding all homemade salsas!

And mmmm, lime oil.. I’ve done lemon, but not lime, and now I think I may need to experiment!

Grant July 19, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Is that fork made from bamboo? Where did you get it? It’s fantastic!

Mary July 19, 2007 at 12:21 pm

I really like this photo, especially the yellow of the corn standing out from the brightness of everything else. I just bought some O oil and have been working on some plans for a marinated, seared tofu with a grilled corn something piled on top of it (I have some vegan friends that I want to try and make happy, but the feta sounds like a good idea, so I’ll sneak some in there for those of us that eat cheese). Maybe Paul would have a good wine suggestion for this?

kevin July 19, 2007 at 12:25 pm

Yes, corn is the friendliest of veggies! The fact that those unsightly and painful bumps on the side of your feet were also given that name is a mystery to me. Must have been devised by some bi-polar doctor with no friends and bad excemea. But I digress. Corn is king. My grandma used to make the most lucious corn fritters! Grilled corn is like crack to me so I could totally devour a bowl of this salad.

SOMEBODY PLEASE REQUEST THE EXACT RECIPE so that Matt has to make this ad naseum and will require guests to help eat the test batches. Okay?

Muse in the Kitchen July 19, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Ooh, this sounds really good. I’ve never tried Tahitian Lime Olive Oil before – it must taste as good as it sounds.

And I am thrilled right now – I adore the taste of cilantro (but I don’t like parsley, go figure). I’m glad it doesn’t taste like soap to me!

hd connelly July 19, 2007 at 3:08 pm

Your approach to food is totally fascinating. Do you have any idea how much your inspire others? You really do. It’s really quite a beautiful thing Mister. :)

Tana July 19, 2007 at 4:09 pm

Heh, I wrote this about the potato:
“If I had to pick a favorite vegetable for Miss America, it might be the humble potato. You can dress her up, you can dress her down: she is both Most Talented and Miss Congeniality.”

But I don’t dispute your assertion: can we have a two-way tie? Can they share the crown?

The oil I use, procurred on rare visits to the Ferry Plaza, is Stonehouse Persian lime olive oil. It’s corn’s best friend, at least in my house. (I haven’t seen your O kind, but I will keep my eyes peeled.)

Here’s to summertime. Long live our corny friends: where would we be without them?


steppingoverthejunk July 19, 2007 at 7:46 pm

beautiful! Much prettier than the black bean and corn salsa I made tonight!

Julie July 20, 2007 at 7:07 am

Gorgeous and delicious picture. Your pictures always have a lovely luminous quality.

chanelle July 20, 2007 at 8:33 am

Like Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail: “Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?”
I would agree that corn is quite the happy, friendly veggie. And even happier with lime! And cilantro! And Matt!
You seem to make everything happy. :)

Monica July 20, 2007 at 3:47 pm


A client just sent me your blog link, it’s wonderful, and your food photos are gorgeous!!! Visit us next time you make it to NY, Brooklyn is a food revolution, and revelation! We have our own “Edible Brooklyn”

My fav zuni recipe is the one not in the book.. the pizza, oy!!!!

My favorite O oil is the meyer lemon… so good, just lick it off your fingers!

Cheers, thanks for the lovely blog!!!
Chef, tini winebar

Monica July 20, 2007 at 3:49 pm


A client just sent me your blog link, it’s wonderful, and your food photos are gorgeous!!! Visit us next time you make it to NY, Brooklyn is a food revolution, and revelation! We have our own “Edible Brooklyn”

My fav zuni recipe is the one not in the book.. the pizza, oy!!!!

My favorite O oil is the meyer lemon… so good, just lick it off your fingers!

Cheers, thanks for the lovely blog!!!
Chef, tini winebar

JEP July 20, 2007 at 4:55 pm

I stop by your blog daily. Enjoy your writing style, info & beautiful photos!

Nan July 22, 2007 at 5:18 am

Hey Matt,

I’m a longtime reader of your awesome blog and I adore how humorous and lively your writing is. Now that I’m trying to write my own, I’ve linked to yours. Hope you don’t mind!

Also, fresh sweet corn is where it’s at!

Mercedes July 22, 2007 at 6:19 pm

This is wonderful, I love the idea of ingredients/food having personalities. And you’re so right about corn being happy. Although I’m perfectly happy with good old corn on the cob.

Nic July 23, 2007 at 4:15 pm

That’s amazing! I know many mathematicians that ascribe personalities to numbers! I guess when you love something so much, it just speaks to you.

Liz Collet July 24, 2007 at 12:02 am

Your photographs and blog posts are always inspiring for me !!!

Steamy Kitchen July 25, 2007 at 6:44 pm

ok ok ok….do you associate bloggers with a vegetable or fruit? Like I totally see you as an apple.

just don’t ask me why.

a rambutan

Tina M July 26, 2007 at 11:59 am

Matt, I love this dish!! I made it for dinner last night with grilled turkey sausage and my honey loved it so much he wants it again tonight. The flavors are so amazing together, and I even had lime oil in the house. This will be become a summer time staple in our house. Bravo!

Susan from Food Blogga August 3, 2007 at 6:35 pm

Corn has been a good friend to me in good times and bad. And I plan on keeping it that way. Now, I’ve gotta search the fridge for some feta.

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