Recipe: Herbed Corn for Columbus Day

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Today's a holiday in honor of everyone's favorite dashing imperialist explorer: Christopher Columbus. Here's a fast and delicious recipe to celebrate a quintessential food of the New World.

Columbus may have come searching for gold, but what he found was a wealth of new foods. Before Europeans arrived in the New World they had never tasted peppers, chocolate, tomatoes or the culinary gold of maize - staple of the Native American diet. Imagine Indian curries without peppers, pasta without tomatoes, or Paris without chocolate!

This recipe is adapted from one that Gourmet ran last summer, with a tangy lime butter sauce over lightly cooked corn and herbs. The delicious lime butter sauce is good with pretty much everything.

Herbed Corn

3 limes
1 large garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of chipotle pepper (optional)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
8 ears of corn
1/4 cup of mixed fresh basil and sage
Olive oil

Juice the limes; you should have about 1/4 cup of juice. Chop the garlic roughly. In a food processor or blender, purée the chopped garlic with lime juice, salt, pepper and chipotle until smooth. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds. Refrigerate the sauce until you use it.

Slice the corn kernels off the ears, being careful not to take too much of the tough cob. It's better to leave more behind and get only the freshest, juiciest bits of kernel. Chop the basil and sage.

Heat a large heavy pan or wok over medium heat. Drip in just a little olive oil and add the corn, tossing until just tender. I like it still a little crispy. Add the sage and basil and toss until wilted, then a few tablespoons of the butter sauce. Toss until warmed and remove from heat. Best at room temperature.

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