Yotam Ottolenghi’s late-summer sweetcorn recipes (2024)

Earlier sunsets and a shift in the wind tell me we’re approaching the end of the season and, as much as I hate to part with the sun, I am comforted by something else that’s bright, yellow and glowing: corn.

Nothing much beats lightly cooked corn on the cob, drowned in butter and seasoned with flaky salt and a few chilli flakes. Better yet is sweetcorn so fresh, it needn’t be cooked at all.

Baked peppers with yogurt and sumac | Nigel SlaterRead more

Tempting as it is to leave sweetcorn to its own devices, I cannot help but push further, creating whole meals that contrast between sweet and savoury, and the delicious space that opens up when they’re considerately paired.

Corn grilled in its husk with creamy pecorino dressing (above)

Corn husks are like nature’s little foil packets, only better. They allow the kernels to cook in their own steam and not dry out while they’re on the grill and, at the same time, take on the burning husks’ smoky aroma.

Make sure you use the freshest corn you can find, because this really makes all the difference when cooking them in this way. If you can’t get corn cobs in their husks, blanch them lightly before grilling them and then spread with the dressing.

Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 4

4 corns on the cob, husks on
2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

For the dressing
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp dijon mustard
1½ tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 anchovies, roughly chopped
35g pecorino, finely grated, plus extra finely grated to serve
Black pepper
100ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing

Make the dressing: add the egg yolks, mustard, lemon, garlic, anchovies, pecorino and a very generous amount of black pepper to a food processor, and pulse a few times until well combined. With the machine running, drizzle in the oil in a slow and steady stream until completely incorporated and the dressing has a mayonnaise-like consistency.

Put a well-greased large griddle pan on to a high heat, or light up your barbecue. Prepare the corn on the cob by gently pulling back the husks, leaving them attached at the base; discard the silk by pulling at the threads.

Rub a heaped tablespoon of the dressing on to each of the cobs, smoothing it out to coat the kernels. Pull up the husks to encase the corn again (don’t worry if some of it is exposed) and, once the grill is smoking, grill the corn, turning from time to time, until the husks are completely charred and the insides are tender – 15-20 minutes.

To serve, pull down the husks again, and rub all over with some more of the dressing. Finish with a sprinkling of extra pecorino and the parsley, and serve with any extra dressing alongside.

Cheese tamales with chilli oil

Tamales are little Mexican parcels of joy, made with maize flour (masa harina), wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and steamed. I use baking paper, because it’s much easier to work with, but do try the husks if you don’t mind the challenge. Make this a complete spread with some lightly pickled red onions, guacamole and spicy homemade salsa.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s late-summer sweetcorn recipes (1)

Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Makes 6 as a starter

For the tamales
4-6 small fresh corn cobs, kernels shaved off to get 500g, or 500g frozen corn kernels, defrosted
15g unsalted butter
100ml double cream
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and finely crushed
100g masa harina
1½ tsp sunflower oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
60g mature cheddar, grated
60g mozzarella block, grated
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges, to serve

For the chilli oil
2 tsp chipotle flakes
2 tsp red bell pepper flakes
60ml sunflower oil

For the chilli oil, lightly toast the chipotle and pepper flakes in a small frying pan on a medium-high heat for a minute, until fragrant, then add the oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Heat for about 30 seconds, until the oil bubbles gently, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse.

For the tamales, blitz the corn in a food processor until you get a wet mash. Add the butter to a large saute pan on a medium-high heat. Once melted, add the corn, cream, a teaspoon of cumin and a teaspoon of salt. Cook for three minutes, stirring a few times, until the corn is cooked through and has the consistency of porridge.

Remove from the heat and leave to cool for five minutes, then add the masa harina, oil, baking powder and egg, and mix well; it should have the consistency of Play-Doh.

Cut six rectangles of baking paper, each 25 x 16cm. With lightly oiled hands, take 110g of the dough and shape into a smooth ball. Put this ball in the middle of one of the paper pieces, and flatten into a 15 x 9cm rectangle.

Combine the cheeses in a small bowl with the remaining teaspoon of cumin, then place 20g cheese mixture along the centre of the dough. Use your hands to mould the dough over to enclose the cheese on all sides, pinching and smoothing the dough with your fingers so there are no cracks, to get a 12 x 6cm rectangle. Fold the paper on all sides to enclose the tamale, using the paper to help you shape it, then put the parcel seam-side down on a tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Put a large saucepan, for which you have a fitted steaming basket and lid, on a high heat with plenty of water. Once boiling, put the tamales seam-side down in the steaming basket (you may have to pile some on top of each other, which is fine). Cover with the lid, turn the heat to medium and steam for 30 minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then unwrap and discard the paper.

Serve the tamales on a platter with the chilli oil drizzled on top and lime wedges to squeeze alongside.

Marinated peppers with fresh corn polenta and soy-cured yolk

The cured egg yolk, which is a cinch to make, adds richness and colour to this meal in a bowl. I urge you to try it in polentas and pastas, even if you’re not going to make this whole dish. The polenta will set quite quickly, so it is best made just before serving. Roast and marinate the peppers up to three days before, if you like.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s late-summer sweetcorn recipes (2)

Prep 15 min
Curing 2 hr 30 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4

70ml soy sauce
4 good-quality, rich-yolk eggs
12 small, mixed red, orange and yellow Romano peppers, stalks on (ie 1.1kg)
Salt and black pepper
1 whole garlic bulb, top trimmed to expose the cloves, plus 2 extra cloves, skin left on and crushed with the side of a knife
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
10g thyme sprigs
1 lemon, zest finely grated to get ½ tsp, remaining skin finely shaved, to get 5 strips
60ml olive oil, plus extra to serve
5g basil, finely shredded

For the polenta
4-6 small fresh corn cobs, kernels shaved off (500g), or 500g frozen corn kernels, defrosted
40g unsalted butter
180g Greek-style yoghurt
40g parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
100g quick-cook polenta

Put the soy sauce in a medium bowl. Separate the eggs, carefully adding the yolks to the bowl of soy sauce (save the whites for another recipe) and leave the yolks to cure for two and a half hours, very gently turning them halfway with a spoon. Don’t cure the yolks for any longer; you want them to stay soft.

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/465F/gas 9. Put the peppers on a large, paper-lined tray, spreading out as much as possible. Sprinkle the whole garlic bulb with a little salt and pepper , wrap tightly in foil and add to the tray with the peppers. Roast for 20 minutes, then carefully turn the peppers over and roast for another 10 minutes, until cooked through and blackened in places.

Put the peppers in a large bowl with the crushed raw garlic, maple syrup, vinegar, thyme, lemon skin, oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Once cool enough to handle, unwrap the cooked garlic and squeeze the cloves out into the bowl with the peppers, discarding the papery skin. Gently mix this into the peppers, keeping the stalks intact, cover with a large plate and leave to marinate for at least an hour, or overnight.

While the peppers are marinating, add the corn to a food processor and blitz to a wet paste. Transfer to a large saute pan with the butter, yoghurt, parmesan, one and three-quarter teaspoons of salt and 500ml water. Cook for seven minutes on a medium heat, then turn the heat to low. Sprinkle in the polenta, stirring constantly for another five minutes to avoid lumps, until cooked.

Divide the polenta between four bowls, then top with three peppers each, drizzling some of the marinade over, but avoiding the aromatics. Carefully lift a yolk out of the soy sauce and place on the polenta, next to the peppers. Finish with a good drizzle of oil, along with the basil, lemon zest, a sprinkle of salt, a good grind of pepper and some freshly grated parmesan.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s late-summer sweetcorn recipes (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Van Hayes

Last Updated:

Views: 5962

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (46 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Van Hayes

Birthday: 1994-06-07

Address: 2004 Kling Rapid, New Destiny, MT 64658-2367

Phone: +512425013758

Job: National Farming Director

Hobby: Reading, Polo, Genealogy, amateur radio, Scouting, Stand-up comedy, Cryptography

Introduction: My name is Van Hayes, I am a thankful, friendly, smiling, calm, powerful, fine, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.