It's still summer despite the fact that many are falling forward in time. We can still grill outdoors. We still can enjoy fresh veggies. This is the time to take advantage of both in flavorful exotic dishes..
Both Melissa Clark and David Tanis did just so in their individual columns in yesterday's New York Times Wednesday Food section. Ms. Clark wrote about Mexican street corn in her A Good Appetite column. This is a great recipe for those ho love corn but are tired of the traditional boiled then slathered with butter or margarine. The corn is first grilled for only seven to ten minutes, giving it a subtle smoky flavor.The ears can be grilled longer for a deeper, almost charred flavor.It also increases the crunch. They're then slathered with a mixture of mayonnaise blended with lime zest, ancho chili powder salt and pepper. You could sub in butter for the mayo if you want or to appease those purists. The Mexican cotija cheese is then crumbled over it .Feta or ricotta salata cheese can be subbed in if the first can't be found .(although Amazon and Walmart do carry it. also look in any nearby Latin American grocery).Chopped cilantro is also sprinkled on. Ms. Clark suggests that guests slather on their own mayo and toppings, adjusting the recipe to individual tastesThe kernels can also be sliced off and served in a bowl with the spiced mayo and toppings.
It's not just corn that's in abundance right now.There are still tomatoes and peppers along with squash and okra. David Tanis turns to North Africa in his A City Kitchen column, He actually adds corn to couscous along with butter and saffron,cinnamon and turmeric. The stew is a tasty melange of the traditional such as chickpeas,along with two kinds of onions, the red and the small yellow kind. Zucchini, okra, tomatoes and a variety of different peppers round it out.Home chefs can use any kind , from the colorful bells, cubanelle, gypsy or corno del toro. Cumin and coriander are added as well as paprika and pepper flakes to give it a Moroccan flair,There is also a non traditional pesto to be drizzled on later. It's not basil but chopped cilantro mixed with serrano chiles also spiced with more cumin and garlic cloves. Lime juice is added for some more zing,The trick to a tasty couscous is cooking it slowly, until they're soft to eat with a spoon, It's cooked in a Dutch oven for fifteen minutes which give home chefs time to create the pesto. Mr. Tanis recommends serving in large wide bowls or deep plates. Have a rose alongside this exotic dish or for more authenticity iced mint tea.
It may be September but it's still summer, ripe with harvests. Take advantage of what the garden and farmer's markets have to offer.They can be turned into exotic and delicious dishes.