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13 essential summer corn recipes

13 Recipes
Okra and corn salad.
(Ben Mims / Los Angeles Times)

Corn, sweet corn: No summer is complete without it.

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Delicious, versatile and easy to work with, corn — on or off the cob — is essential summertime fare. As we approach the midpoint of Southern California’s 6-month-long (May through October) corn season, here are some recipes to add to your repertoire.

Fresh, sweet corn on the cob is delicious straight from the pot, salted and, if you like, buttered. (Fill a pot with water, add a few shucked ears of corn and bring it to a boil. When the water boils the corn is done.) For a little more flavor, grill the corn and serve it with a tequila-lime compound butter. Or go all out with elote — Mexican street-food style corn on a stick, coated with cotija cheese and chili salt.

Off the cob, corn makes for wonderful side dishes such as an avocado corn relish to complement tacos and grilled meats, and braised corn with chanterelles, where the quick braising enhances the flavor of both ingredients. You can pair corn with zucchini in calabacitas or get a little more sophisticated with budin de elote, a rich, creamy corn and zucchini pudding.

Buffalo corn with bacon and eggs is a great breakfast fix — and perfect for any other quick, casual meal. Come lunchtime, corn kernels mixed with mozzarella and fontina cheeses give Korean corn grilled cheese a crunchy, toothsome dimension. The kernels serve a similar function in a charred okra and corn salad with spicy sausage vinaigrette.

Summer succotash and creamed corn are wonderful accompaniments to crisp-skinned salmon — all three dishes come together in about 30 minutes. Halibut steamed in corn husks is another quick, easy meal; the husks impart intense grassy, corn flavor to the delicate fish and leave it impossibly juicy.

A light hand with the cream and fresh, sweet corn make for a delightful, summery corn chowder. Indonesian corn cakes, studded with shrimp, celery and onions, make a terrific appetizer or side.

Any part of a meal, any time of day, any way you prepare it, corn will add texture, color and the taste of summer to your spread.

Braised corn with chanterelles

Corn and chanterelles are two great seasonal highs that combined will always be transcendent, but braise them in just a whisper of nut oil and they are transformed.
Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Bregedel jagung (Indonesian corn cakes)

Fresh corn kernels are the basis for these savory Indonesian corn cakes. The sweetness of the corn and cream balance the brininess of the shrimp and the crunch of the vegetables.
Time 35 minutes
Yields Makes 24 cakes

Avocado corn relish

In Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger's relish, day-fresh sweet corn brings a bright note, contrasting the richness of the oil, avocado, vinegar and pepper.
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 12

Budin de elote (Corn pudding with zucchini)

This simple corn pudding is sublimely silky.
Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 8 to 10

Charred Okra and Corn Salad With Spicy Sausage Vinaigrette

Crisp, spicy sausage acts as second fiddle to a grab-bag of peak-summer vegetables, including okra, corn and Jimmy Nardello peppers.
Time 40 minutes
Yields Serves 2 to 4

Korean Corn Grilled Cheese

Korean corn cheese is outlandishly wonderful. The beauty of this dish is in tasting the sweet corn mixed with the super stretchy cheese.
Time 40 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Corn chowder

Chowder made with fresh, sweet corn is a revelation. A light hand with the cream rewards you with flavors that are vibrant and uniquely summery.
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 6

Crisp-skinned salmon with summer succotash and creamed corn

The crisp salmon skin is exquisite, as is the sweet, soft flesh. Fava beans replace lima beans in the succotash and creamed corn surrounds it on the plate.
Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Classic elotes

Grilled Mexican corn, or elotes, is comfy Mexican food everyone loves.
Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Calabacitas

Calabacitas (squash) is a homey dish of stewed zucchini, corn and tomatoes.
Time 35 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Halibut steamed in corn husks

The husks infuse the mild fish with that ineffable corn flavor and keep it almost impossibly juicy. Fresh corn, jalapeños, cilantro and butter are tucked into the husks.
Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Buffalo Corn With Bacon and Eggs

This Buffalo corn is like wings but better.
Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Grilled corn with tequila-lime butter

Lime and a little tequila in the compound butter make the corn flavor really pop. A little minced jalapeño gives it a bit of heat and a sprinkle of cilantro adds color.
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 8