When I was growing up, my family gathered for barbecues in my grandparents' backyard almost every summer weekend. I'd help my grandmother shuck piles of corn while my grandfather grilled burgers, hot dogs and Speidies — upstate-New York-style meat on skewers. I vividly remember sitting at their picnic table, wrapped in a beach towel after a swim in the pool, eating as many ears of corn as I could.
The summer I turned 10, I got braces. I was kind of happy about it — they were highly fashionable in the fifth grade at Charles F. Johnson Elementary School in 1985 — until I realized that corn on the cob was off limits for metal mouths. I sat glumly at my first barbecue with braces on, depressed by the prospect of an entire summer with no corn on the cob.
My grandmother picked up on my dismay and sprang into action. She took me, and a few ears of uncooked corn, into the kitchen, where she used a sharp knife to slice the juicy kernels right off the cob and into a bowl. Then, she drizzled a few spoonfuls of melted butter, and a sprinkle of salt, over the top and handed me the bowl.
"Try this," she said.
It was absolutely delicious — crunchier and sweeter than cooked corn and, best of all, consumable with a fork. Brilliant!
The recipe below also uses uncooked corn, sliced off the cob, along with other raw summer veggies, held together with a creamy dressing you can whip up in a few minutes. It's perfect to bring to a barbecue or summer dinner party. The braces-wearing guests will thank you. K
Serves 6 as a side dish (adapted from Food52)
South Pomfret, VT
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