My Papa Leo’s famous recipe for perfectly cooked sweet corn, every single time.
Growing up, no summer was complete without a visit from my dad’s side of the family from Berkeley, California. Papa Leo, Ema Ljuba and at least 6 of their 7 kids would all fly out from the west coast to get a piece of the quintessential Pure Michigan summer.
Their time in town was divided between the big lake at a rental home on Lake Michigan and our cottage on Silver Lake, a small inland lake just 30 minutes north of Grand Rapids. Fun Fact: You’re never more than 15 miles from a body of water any where within the state of Michigan.
Typically harvested between mid-June and mid-August, my Papa Leo always timed his trip during Michigan’s sweet corn season. Even though he was living in California surrounded by fresh produce all year, he always said nothing compared to the sweet and delicious corn grown in the Midwest.
A father of 10 and a grand father of 3, Papa Leo knew how to feed a crowd. That’s me on his lap by the way – I’m on the right and my Aunt Abby is on the left. When it came time for family dinner during his visits, we would all gather in the kitchen to watch Papa Leo prepare his famous sweet corn for the crew.
The recipe is simple but the result is nothing but pure magic. Here are Papa Leo’s secrets to perfect sweet corn every time:
- Purchase the sweet corn as fresh as possible, ideally from a local farm or farmers market.
- For maximum flavor, cook the corn in boiling water for 3 minutes. Not a minute less and not a minute more. Any longer and the flavor gets absorbed into the cooking liquid.
- Slice the kernels off the cob and serve with butter, salt and pepper in a large bowls with a spoon. Perfection doesn’t need pomp and circumstance.
Your fork is waiting.
- 4 ears sweet corn shucked
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Fill a large stock pot 2/3 of the way with water and bring to a boil.
Add corn cobs to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Using tongs, carefully remove the corn from the pot.
Carefully slice off the corn kernels from the cob into a large bowl. Add butter, salt and pepper to the bowl and toss well. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
Serve corn in large bowls.
Watch this video to learn easiest way to shuck corn.
What are your favorite childhood foodie memories? I’d love to hear from you. Have a wonderful 4th of July everyone!
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