Piles of corn have come back to the Union Square Market. During the summer season we buy them each week and enjoy an ear of corn after another. Freshly harvested corn is heavenly moist and sweet. I have reached almost to the state of addiction to it.
Corn was brought by the Portuguese to Japan during the 16th century. The cultivation of sweet type corn began at the end of the 19th century. I was grown up with corn in Japan but did not develop my likeness to it. Partly because corn was not in my mother’s summer vegetable list, so rarely showed up at our dinner table. Partly because I never tasted corn as tasty as the ones which I get here at the farmer’s market.
This is the corn rice dish which I prepare many times during the summer – Corn and Ginger Rice with Shoyu and Butter. The recipe comes form my upcoming book, Hiroko’s American Kitchen; Cooking with Japanese Flavors; 6 Easy Sauces 125 Modern Recipes
“The combination of corn, shoyu (soy sauce), and butter in this recipe may make you think I have strayed far from Japanese cooking, unless you are aware that excellent sweet corn and high-quality butter are produced on Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. This combination – corn, butter and shoyu – is not at all alien today to my native cuisine. Try the dish with just-harvested moist, sweet summer corn, and I guarantee you and all your fellow diners will love it, page 20, Hiroko’s American Kitchen”
2 1/4 cups short- or medium-grain polished white rice
2 ears corn
2 1/2 cups kelp stock or low-sodium vegetable stock
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 ounces ginger, julienned (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
3 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter
Rinse and soak the rice. Drain the rice and let it stand in a fine-mesh sieve for 20 minutes to dry.
Remove the corn husks and quickly grill th e ears over a medium open flame on a gas stove, turning them until the entire surface becomes golden. Cut each corn in half. Place each half ear on the cut end in a large, shallow bowl, and use a knife to separate the individual kernels from the cob. Repeat with all the pieces. This will produce about 1 1/2 cups of corn kernels.
Place the drained rice and the stock in a medium heavy pot. Sprinkle the corn kernels, salt, and ginger evenly over the rice. Do not stir the rice. Cover the pot with a lid and cook. When the rice is cooked, let it stand undisturbed for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and add the soy sauce and butter. With a spatula, gently and quickly toss and mix the rice. Divide the rice into small bowls and serve.