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Yotam Ottolenghi’s sweet corn recipes – from kernels to husks and cobs | Food

mI find it particularly satisfying to use things that are often thrown away in the kitchen. The simple pleasure of making a vegetable stock, for example by using up and trimming the vegetable skins that often remain after cooking. Thinking about ingredients this way—that is, using up the whole thing—is not only a big step toward zero-waste cooking, but it provides a good excuse for one recipe to pass the baton (or, in the case of today, the corn on the cob) on to the next.

Charred corn with lime cream and hot sauce (top photo)

Ideally, use in-season corn on the cob for that right corn flavor.

Preparation 10-15 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Serves 6

4 green peppershalved, stems, pith and seeds removed, then cut each half lengthwise into 3 (about 600g net)
2 bunches of spring onionstrimmed (250g net)
2 tsp olive oil
350 g fresh corn kernels
(about 4 cobs shaved off; keep cobs for another use – see brulee recipe), or frozen corn kernels, thawed
30 g unsalted butter
Fine sea salt and black pepper
1 lime
cut in half, squeezed in half to get 2 tsp juice
½ tsp aleppo chili
1¼ tsp cumin seeds
roasted and lightly ground in a mortar
20 g corianderleaves picked, stems finely chopped
100 g fetacoarsely crumbled

For the cream
70 g sour cream
30g mayonnaise
2 tsp lime juice

For the sauce
30 ml hot sauce
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp brown sugar

Place the peppers, spring onions and two teaspoons of olive oil in a large bowl and toss. Place a large skillet over high heat and, once you’ve smoked, cook the peppers in two batches for two to three minutes on each side, then transfer to a plate or container to cool. In the same pan, cook the scallions in three or four batches for two to three minutes on each side, then transfer them to the pepper bowl. Once the spring onions have cooled, cut them diagonally into 6cm pieces and return them to the bowl along with the peppers.

Place the corn and a teaspoon of olive oil in a second bowl, toss them over, then toast them in the hot griddle pan, turning occasionally, for five to seven minutes, until softened and slightly blackened in places. Remove the pan from the heat, mix in the butter and half a teaspoon of salt and return the corn to the bowl.

Meanwhile make the cream. Place the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl, mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine all sauce ingredients in another small bowl and set aside.

Place the aleppo chili, cumin and a pinch of salt in a third small bowl and mix well.

To prepare, mix the spring onions, peppers and chopped coriander stalks with a quarter teaspoon of salt, a generous pinch of pepper and two teaspoons of lime juice. Arrange one-third of the pepper mixture and one-third of the corn on a plate with a lip. Drizzle over some of the crema, followed by some of the hot sauce, then sprinkle over some of the feta and some of the cumin mixture. Divide a few coriander leaves over it, repeat the layers and build up the dish gradually until everything is gone. Serve at room temperature with the extra lemon half to squeeze on top.

Shrimp tamales with spicy coconut sauce

Yotam Ottolenghi's shrimp tamales with spicy coconut sauce.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s shrimp tamales with spicy coconut sauce.

Tamales are filled corn dough wraps from Central America. Traditionally, they are steamed in corn on the cob that would normally be thrown away. Save large husks for wrapping and smaller ones for tying the ends (you can even freeze excess husks to use another time). If you can’t get hulled corn, use well-soaked wax paper.

Preparation 15-20 minutes
Cook 2 hours 15 minutes
Serves 4

1 dried guajillo chilior 1 mild dried chili pepper
½ tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp baking powder
10 frontal, peeled king prawns
shells and heads reserved, meat chopped into cm pieces
1 red onionpeeled (150 g net), coarsely grated and then squeezed to remove excess water
Fine sea salt and black pepper
250 ml chicken stock
115g masa harina
1 tbsp olive oil
30 corn on the cob
(from about 4 flasks), or wax paper, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes

For the sauce
100 ml olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
peeled and roughly chopped
15g piece of fresh gingerpeeled and cut into thin slices
1 red pepperhalved lengthwise
50 ml tequilaor rum or brandy
75 ml full coconut milk
1½ tsp lime juice

Make the tamale filling first. Place the guajillo chili in a small skillet over high heat and roast for 20 seconds on each side, until fragrant. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with boiling water, weigh in a small saucer and rehydrate for 20 minutes. Strain, cut open the chili pepper, remove and discard the stem and seeds, and chop the flesh into a paste. Place the guajillo paste in a medium bowl, add the lime zest, ground ginger, baking soda, shrimp, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a generous pinch of pepper, and stir to combine.

Heat the stock in a small saucepan over high heat. Place the masa harina in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, set to medium and slowly whisk in the stock. Blend for three minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl, until fluffy. Add the oil, mix until incorporated, then turn off the engine and fold in the shrimp mixture until just blended.

Lift the corn on the cob (or paper) from the soaking water, squeeze out the excess and place 10 on a clean surface. Using two spoons, place an oval about 55 g (7 cm) long of the shrimp mixture in the center of each skin and cover with another piece of skin. Repeat until all the shrimp mixture is used up. Tear thin strips of the unused husks and use to tie and seal the tamales.

Fill a large saucepan halfway with water, cover and bring to a boil. Place a steamer (or colander) well on top and arrange the tamales in it in a single layer – if they don’t all fit at once, cook them in two batches. Cover and steam gently for an hour, filling the pan with freshly boiled water if necessary. When the hour is up, remove the tamales from the steamer and let them rest for 10 minutes.

Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and reserved shrimp heads and shells and cook, stirring frequently, for four minutes, until deep pink. Turn the heat to low, add the garlic, ginger, chilli and well-ground pepper and cook, stirring, for six minutes, pressing the heads and shells to release their juices. Add the tequila, cook for a minute to reduce, then pour in the coconut milk and cook for another three minutes. Pass the shrimp mixture through a fine sieve into a medium bowl, pressing down on the solids to extract as much juice as possible and discarding the solids. Stir in the lime juice and one-eighth teaspoon of salt and set aside.

Arrange the tamales on a large platter and serve with the warm coconut sauce on the side.

Corn crème brulee with coffee liqueur

Yotam Ottolenghi's corn creme brulee with kahlua.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s corn creme brulee with coffee liqueur.

The taste of finished cobs is very subtle and pleasant, and pairs beautifully with this brulee and coffee liqueur.

Preparation 5 minutes
infuse Overnight stay
Cook 1 hour 10 minutes
Cool 2 hours 30 minutes
Serves 4

4 shredded corn on the cobhalved in width
350 ml whole milk
450 ml whipped cream
80 g light brown sugar
6 egg yolks
(save the whites for another use)
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 teaspoons
finely grated lemon zest (ie from 2 limes)
100 ml coffee liqueurhour – I used Kahlua (optional)

Grate the cobs with the coarse side of a grater down to the hard core and then cut the cobs in half lengthwise. Place both the grated cobs and the halved cores in a saucepan and stir in the milk and cream. Place the pan over medium heat, bring to a boil, remove from heat and let cool. Once at room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight to infuse.

Preheat the oven to 160C (140C Fan)/315F/Gas 2½. Line a colander with a clean tea towel, place over a medium bowl, strain through the milk mixture, then lift the corners of the towel and squeeze hard to extract as much liquid as possible. You should have about 500 ml (if not, add extra cream).

In a large bowl, beat the light brown sugar and egg yolks until pale and fluffy. Pour in the cob-soaked milk mixture and whisk again to combine. Place four ovenproof ramekins on a large, high baking dish and spread the milk mixture evenly over them. Carefully pour enough boiling water into the baking dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins, then bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the creams are just set but still wobble a little. Carefully lift the ramekins out of the pan and let them cool for two hours.

Set the oven grill to the highest setting. Sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of the caster sugar evenly over the top of each ramekin, grill for four minutes, until it bubbles and caramelize, then set aside until the sugar has cooled and hardened.

Sprinkle the lime zest over the top of the brulee and serve each with a 25ml shot of Kahlua, if using.