When fresh corn is in season, we eat it often, usually on the cob. However, depending on the meal, it is more appropriate to cut off the kernels. It is really easy to do, as long as you have a sharp knife. If you plan to do a lot of corn, you can use a corn scraper. Of course, you always want very fresh corn but, for this recipe, you need the freshest, so that it is as juicy and milky as possible. That being said, this is equally delicious using frozen corn in the off-season, as noted below. For a similar recipe from my Pennsylvania Dutch family that is made with dried corn, see the similar and related recipes links.
- 4 large fresh ears of corn, yellow or white, husks and silk removed (see notes below for using frozen corn)
- 3 tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted, more or less to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional, see notes below)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives (optional, see notes below)
- Evaporated milk or cream (optional, see notes below)
The best way to cut the kernels off of the cob is in a deep, wide bowl. Alternately, you can use a large cutting board with a clean kitchen towel place on top so the kernels do not move after they land. Place the cob stem end down. Run the knife down the sides, turning the cob after each cut, until all of the kernels are removed. Then, holding the stem end in your hand, scrape the sides again with the back side of the knife to remove any remaining milk.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt. Add the corn, any juices from the bowl, optional sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Cover; reduce heat to medium and cook until hot. Add the chives and stir again. If the corn is dry, or if you would like it creamier, and some milk or cream, cover again, and heat thoroughly. Serve immediately or let set over very low heat, covered, until ready to use.
Notes: Both the sugar and milk or cream in this recipe are optional and a matter of taste, depending on the sweetness and juiciness of the corn. If using frozen corn, you will need milk or cream. As for the chives, I like the mild onion flavor they impart, but they are not necessary.