I first tried out this corn recipe on my Thanksgiving menu this year. The spicy corn, brightened with a squirt of lime, proved to be the perfect foil to the buttery and rich dishes I tend to make. I adapted the recipe from the food blog Orangette which recommends eating with cheddar and toast, which I did and thoroughly enjoyed. For me, the dish recalled happy memories of summers in England where I would purchase corn cobs on a stick and eat them on green and white chairs hired in London parks. The corn was sweet and the butter would drip down my chin. The sweetness of the corn is enhanced by carmelising the kernels in the pan and the chili with the lime makes for not only a wonderful side dish, but a really interesting relish to top a grilled hot dog or as a salsa in a taco. The corn will keep for up to a week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Charles Ethan Porter, Still Life with Corn, 1885
watercolour on paper, 25.5 x 43cm, Private collection

Working in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, still life artist Charles Ethan Porter was one of the first African-Americans to exhibition at the National Academy of Design in NYC. He was endorsed by Mark Twain to travel to Paris and to study at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs and Académie Julian. Porter primarily composed paintings of fruit and flowers, both of which are pictured in Still Life with Corn which was created the year he returned to NYC from Paris. The background of the work features very distinct brushstrokes reminiscent of the Pointillist work of Seurat, perhaps an influence from his time abroad.

{Spicy Sautéed Corn}

Adapted from Orangette
Yield: 6 servings

2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
3 cups corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
juice of 1 lime

In a large frying pan, add the shallots, jalapeno, butter and salt and cook over medium-high heat. Once the shallots have gone soft, around 3-4 minutes, add the corn. Continue cooking over medium-high heat for an additional 7-10 minutes until the corn kernels are dark and sticky and begin to pop. Squeeze over the lime juice, stirring to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan and scoop into a serving dish. Best served warm.