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The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
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is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 09.01.05
Montreal

GREG DUNCAN

A corny end to summer

"Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn." ~ Garrison Keillor

What if I challenged you to eat 1600 kernels of corn? You'd guffaw, most likely. However, here are some little known facts about our favourite late-summer treat.

The average ear of corn has 800 kernels, arranged in 16 rows. There is one piece of silk for each kernel and a bushel of corn contains about 27,000 kernels. Corn is not only an important food for man -- more than fifty per cent of world corn production is used for livestock feed.

Fresh corn on the cob will lose up to forty per cent of its sugar content after six hours of room temperature storage. The sugar is converted to starch. All this leads me to wonder? Is there a connection between the invention of the toothpick and corn on the cob? In my book, the answer must be 'yes'.

There is one common dilemma when one buys a dozen ears or so. What does one do with all the leftovers? Fortunately corn adapts well to almost any method of preservation. Freezing, canning, soups, and salsa all provide worthy uses for the golden kernels.

Here are a couple of methods you can try.

Gouda corn gratin

1-tablespoon butter
1/2-cup onion - chopped
1/2-cup green onion - chopped
3 cups corn
1/4-teaspoon salt
1/4-teaspoon dried thyme - crushed
1/4-teaspoon cayenne
1/4-teaspoon black pepper
3 eggs
1 1/4-cup cream
2 cups Gouda cheese - grated
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and green onion and sauté until the onions soften. Add the corn, salt, thyme, cayenne and black pepper, and cook until the corn is tender and warmed through - about three to five minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the cream until blended. Stir in one cup of the grated Gouda and the corn mixture. Pour the mixture into a greased 5x8-inch baking dish.

Top with the remaining Gouda and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. The gratin is done when a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Top with the chopped parsley and serve warm. Serves six.

Capered corn and beans

1-pound fresh green beans
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups corn, cut fresh from the cob
3 ounces capers (drained)
1/4-teaspoon salt
1/8-teaspoon pepper
1/8-teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

Snip ends from green beans and wash. Steam for 10 minutes, or until crisp tender. Drain and cool. Slice diagonally. In small saucepan, heat butter. Add corn, capers, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer. Add green beans. Cook until beans are heated through. Serves six.

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