What do you keep stashed in your freezer for busy nights and quick meals? Personally, I stock up on frozen vegetables during the winter — but sometimes I forget about the last bag of frozen spinach or broccoli in the back corner. Well, let's shop our freezers together this week and discover some of the ways that these frozen vegetables can help us a little more. Today's pick: corn!
I live in the heart of sweet corn country, and I gorge on fresh corn all summer. When in season, there's really no replacement for its sweet crunch. But frozen corn has its own benefits, and it can be a lovely touch of summer during the fall and winter months.
Before we talk about cooking, though, I have to admit my secret love of frozen corn straight from the bag. I don't know if this is revealing my inner toddler or what, but there's something irresistible about cold, sweet, chewy kernels of corn fresh from the freezer. Any time I cook with frozen corn, it's hard to stop nibbling them straight from the bag. (Am I weird? Tell me I'm not the only one who enjoys this!)
Besides that, though, frozen corn is actually in use year-round in my kitchen. Like frozen spinach and other frozen vegetables, corn tends to go in a few basic dishes. Here are some of my favorites.
1. Sauté for a side dish.
Oh, sautéed sweet corn, how I love you. Take your frozen corn and step it up from the microwave, stir-frying or sautéing with a little butter, and then fold in some chopped herbs or a dash of paprika. Yes, it's not fresh summer sweet corn, but it's still very, very good.
2. Throw it into soup and chili.
This is one of the primary reasons I almost always have a bag of corn in the freezer. I throw it by the handful into chili and vegetable soups — almost any soup could use a little extra color from corn.
3. Add it to risotto.
There's a pleasant similarity between the sweet crunch of barely cooked corn and the chew of al dente rice in a good risotto. They make sweet harmony together. Try adding a cup of corn to any risotto recipe.
4. Toss with potatoes.
Here's a two-for-one: Use frozen green beans and corn in this delicious dish of potatoes tossed with a tangy brown butter sauce.
5. Bake with cheese.
Or you could just go the easy route and make a cheesy potluck-style side dish with corn and roasted red peppers.
All of this is just the tip of the (frozen corn) iceberg, of course. You could put frozen corn on pizza, in cornbread, in grits, or in corn casseroles. We also love it in scrambled eggs, and best of all, mixed into this cheesy Tex-Mex rice.
What's your favorite way to use frozen corn? Do you keep it around?
(Image credits: Faith Durand; Nealey Dozier; Emma Christensen)