With plump and sweet, juicy kernels, corn is synonymous with outdoor summer eating and often called upon to play the lead role in side dishes – grilled corn-on-the-cob, fresh creamed corn and warm, fluffy corn bread, to name a few of the classics.
Corn took a leap out of the sidelines to front our August menu with nine courses incorporating and paying homage to summer’s bright, young thing. Originally we earmarked corn to play hero through September 2014’s tasting plates however, the early summer heat has brought upon the premature arrival of this season’s crop, in turn propelling corn forward a month - proving we can plan until we are blue in the face but ultimately Mother Nature calls the shots when it comes to our menu; it’s the most delicious way to eat.
Corn is best enjoyed as close to harvest as possible as it begins converting its sugars into starch instantly after being picked, lessening its desirable sweet flavour. For guaranteed freshness, we sourced our yellow, white and baby corn from the good people at Tamai Family Farms, located in the Greater Los Angeles area – a mere 55 miles from our little restaurant in Beverly Hills.
To best highlight the multiple personalities of the pale yellow veggie, we treated it simply (for example, with Maude’s version of traditional Mexican elote) however, corn’s wonderful versatility invited us to utilise it in more sophisticated and playful ways too.
Huitlacoche, a fungus that grows on some corn is considered an exquisite delicacy for its pungent earthy and nutty flavour. Long-savoured in Mexico, we welcomed the fungus into our kitchen to be paired with local acorn fed pork. Guests also enjoyed corn’s pop of sweetness with seasonal delights such as spigarello, figs, berries, melons and heirloom tomatoes. On a even sweeter note, our pastry chef, Vannessa Garcia, dreamed up a cornmeal crepe with blackberries and fig ice cream for one of the dessert courses.