Why does corn get such a bad rap as a veggie?
Back in my waitressing days, when I was saving for my backpacking trip through Europe slaving away at this crappy place, we had a very regular customer, who always began his order by asking what the vegetable of the day was. “Corn on the Cob”, I answered him one evening. “Corn?” He replied with pure disgust, “Corn is the vegetable of the day? But corn isn’t a vegetable, it’s a starch.” “Well, that’s what the kitchen is offering tonight, sir. Why don’t you just get a side salad?” He then proceeded to argue the merits of dark green veggies and the perils of an abundance of carbohydrates with a waitress who was at the tail end of a double shift and still needed to get a drink order from the party of 8 at table 21. Eyes were definitely rolled. I was never the friendliest waitress, but I did get you your food on time (which would you prefer?)
I suppose I have also fallen into the school of thought that says that corn isn’t really a vegetable, not compared to say, your super healthful choices like broccoli or spinach, and since I love those particular veggies, as well as a host of others, corn in it’s true form doesn’t often find it’s way onto my dinner plate. My thoughts started to change this year, however, when the fresh corn started hitting the produce section. Corn may not be as healthy as my typical vegetable fare, but when you have a husband who, without your loving guidance, would attempt to subsist on white bread, Chinese food, and Tasty Kakes, then doesn’t it stand to reason that fresh corn is actually more healthy than what he normally puts in his body?
Creamy Sweet Corn Relish
3 fresh ears of corn, kernels removed
½ small sweet red bell pepper, chopped
Greens of 2 scallions, chopped
2 pats of butter
2 tablespoons half & half
¼ cup water
salt & pepper
Spicy Cornmeal Crusted Catfish
2 large catfish filets, fresh
2 cups light buttermilk
5 – 10 shakes of your favorite hot sauce
1+ cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons Emeril’s Original Essence
Step 1: Prep the ingredients for the corn relish. Shuck your corn, and cut off the corn kernels. Chop your green onions and peppers.
Step 2: In a bowl, mix the buttermilk and hot sauce, add the catfish to the bowl to let it marinate for no more than 10 – 15 minutes. On a separate plate, use your fingers to mix the cornmeal and Emeril’s Essence.
Step 3: Get 2 large frying or sautee pans ready on the stove. Start the corn relish by heating up 1 pat of butter, and sauteeing the corn kernels and red pepper on medium heat. Add the water to the pan, and cover for 3 – 5 minutes. Uncover, and add the green onion and half & half, along with salt & pepper to taste. Cover, and turn heat to low.
Step 4: Meanwhile, start dredging the catfish in the cornmeal mixture, and add it to the frying pan that you have heated at medium with olive oil and butter. They only need to cook for 4 minutes or so per side, enough time to get a nice crust.
Step 5: After you have flipped the catfish, uncover the corn and let the liquid mostly cook off. Turn off the heat, and stir in one more pat of butter.
Step 6: Plate your dinner while the catfish is hot and sizzling, and dress with the sweet corn relish. If I were to make this again, I would also add a drizzle of chipotle aioli or some kind of spicy mayo to the dish…it would be delicious! If you have made the cornbread (just a mix with shredded cheddar and chopped scallions), add a thick slice to your plate.
Guess what? Corn IS good for you! It is loaded with memory improving thiamin (vitaminB1), and a one cup serving provides 20% of the body’s daily need of folate, which helps fight heart disease and colon cancer. Combining with red bell peppers also increases the beta-cryptoxanthin, a carotenoid known to lower the risks of lung cancer. Who knew? This dish was even healthier than I imagined when I made it, especially since it also got some fresh fish in my husband’s belly. Low fat? Well….no. It was lightly fried in butter, and the cornbread didn’t help…but it sure was yummy!
On our official veggie fake out broccoli scale (in which I rate the recipe based on health factor, volume of veggies consumed, and skill at hiding said veggies), I will give this recipe 5 out of 10 heads of broccoli.