Southwestern Toasted Corn

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This one’s for you, John.

Easy, cheap, quick, and tasty. Though it is probably a side dish, I’m eating this bowl of this as I write. I love this variation on plain canned corn, and it will work with corn on the cob as well, if that’s your jam. But seen here, it’s made with pantry food, and it was delicious and easy. Here’s how.

An unnamed member of my family just watched me photograph a can of corn. Ask me no questions, sir.

Get a pan and make it hot. In the high medium range. This corn is already cooked, so all you want to do is brown it a bit. Stainless steel pans are best for this, but use what you have, it’ll still work. You can always just boil and serve this stuff, but for me, this is tastier, and a little different. Drop in a tablespoon of butter. Don’t have butter? Cooking oil, margarine, or very cheap olive oil will do the trick. Don’t use good olive oil, it has too much flavor for this application. Put it in the pan, then drain the corn and drop it in. You need to drain the corn as well as you can, because you’ll have to cook the liquid away to get the corn to brown and get that toasty sweetness.

To spice it up, I used Arizona Dreaming, a spice blend from Penzey’s. It’s salt free, if that is something you require, but I added salt, because I don’t. It is perfectly good without. Penzey’s has, or did have, actual shops, but is online exclusively right now, as are so many things. (I am not sponsored. It’s what I have on hand.) If you don’t have Arizona Dreaming, and want an alternative, try McCormick Southwest Seasoning, or Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning (It’s salt free!). You can also blend your own; check out this, and this, for some recipes. That second link has the most basic recipe, and it includes unsweetened cocoa, which may sound odd, but is secretly delicious. Chocolate was discovered by the Aztecs, who served it with spices, and/or corn puree.

Anyway, a can of corn requires about 2 teaspoons of spice blend, as soon as the liquid has boiled away. Work fast, don’t burn the corn or the spices. The fat and spice will stick to the pan, so make sure you’re scraping it up and stirring as you go. Once it’s going, you only need about two minutes to get it toasting. Serve fresh, of course, but you can shove leftovers in the microwave for a tasty snack at midnight. Midnight corn is the best corn.

If you want to do this on the cob, soak the corn, still in the shucks, for an hour or so, then take it out, and pull the shucks away but not off. Sprinkle the spice on the corn, then wrap it back up and throw it on a hot grill until it is done. Then eat it, no butter needed.

Please keep in mind, if you’re in the states, and possibly elsewhere, depending on how your economy handles food for the needy, that if WIC food is low, and you can afford to purchase the alternative, you should. People who rely on WIC to feed their children can’t buy the alternative brands with their food stamps, and will have to do without as a result. There are suddenly a great deal more people who are worried about how to feed their families, and if everyone helps in small ways, everyone’s lives will be better.

Take care of each other, and eat well.

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