To have fresh corn and tomatoes, you need to go to the kitchen right now and make something. Something I will tell you how to make. And you will then go make it, because you love me and trust me and DAMN, this is good.
But first! A story.
Several years ago, back when A. had just graduated from law school and I had just quit my job to move to Blackrock, I announced we were Going On Vacation. Capital letters, because we were going to Europe, dammit. That's pretty much how I announced it, too. A. was hesitant at first, suggesting maybe we could just take a nice trip around upstate New York? No? How about driving around Canada or something?
No. Europe. End of discussion. I figured this was the last time in a long time we would have the time and the money for a long, international vacation (and I was right), so we were leaving our continent, the end. I let him pick the country though, because I am all about a fair and equitable marriage.
So we went to northern Spain for two weeks.
I think his choice of Spain had much to do with the fact that I was proficient enough in Spanish to allow us to drive around for two weeks in areas that see no English-speakers, ever. Most of the Spaniards we encountered thought we were German, actually. And we didn't see anyone else that whole two weeks who spoke English. But in Madrid the night before we flew home, I bought an English-language cookbook called Cooking in Spain,
by Janet Mendel.
I love this cookbook. Even though all the recipes use metric measurements and weights, because that's what, oh, pretty much the rest of the world uses, I still love the book. It mostly uses ingredients familiar to me, but in unfamiliar-enough ways to be interesting. Plus, the instructions are all pretty vague, assuming the cook knows how to navigate his or her own kitchen, which is just my style.
And so I present to you my version of stewed corn, originally culled from this book but then bastardized,
because that is my way.
It only has five ingredients: corn kernels, fat, garlic, tomatoes, and paprika. Oh, and salt, but that's kind of a given, right?
The recipe has actual weights and real measures, but honestly? This is cooked corn with a tomato sauce, and I'm not getting out my scale every time I make this, so let's wing it, shall we?
So here's what you do. Peel and mince up about four cloves of garlic. Garlic is a dominant flavor here, so adjust accordingly for a larger amount of corn. Saute briefly in a bit of fat. The recipe calls for lard. I usually use olive oil or butter, but if I had good lard, I would use it.
Then add about four large diced tomatoes. Add some salt and cook the tomatoes down until the liquid is oozing out. Then add a good teaspoon or two of paprika. The recipe calls for one; I use more like one and a half. I assume, since this is a Spanish cookbook, the intention is to use smoked Spanish paprika. But I detest smoked paprika and always use the sweet Hungarian kind. Go with smoked if you like it (but then I would use only one teaspoon, so as not to go overboard with the smoky taste), but sweet is delicious too.
Okay! Now, you've cut the kernels off of about four ears of corn using my (the MiL's) ingenious method
, right? Right. And if you didn't? Well, chuck in some frozen corn. I won't tell. Besides, the recipe actually calls for cooked corn, anyway.
In any case, add the corn kernels right to the tomato mixture in the pan and cook it all down until the liquid reduces and the corn is tender. Check if it needs any more salt, and then eat.
You're going to the kitchen now, right? GOGOGO.