Fresh Basil Brings Out The Best In Sweet Corn For Summer Dishes

There is a deep contentment that comes with seasonal eating. Comforting winter stews made with cured meats and root vegetables give way to spring's many gifts of lamb, strawberries, and asparagus. Summer, of course, is the pinnacle of plenty — and it's only right to combine that which comes to fruition during this Dionysian season, because they're meant to be together. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that fresh basil and sweet corn are an exquisite combination: Herbal, nectarous, and sublime. 

You know we love grilling our summer corn in their husks, and have gone deep with the many types of fresh basil. Now it's time to let you in on their Wonder Twin powers, tell you why they pair so well, and give you a couple of ideas about dishes you can create to feature them. Because when the days are long, it's time to exult in nature's bounty — start with this wondrous pairing.

An earthly marriage made in heaven

Basil, that queen of summer herbs, loves two things: Sweetness and creaminess. Right off the bat, the toothsome qualities of a good ear of Silver Queen corn highlight basil's bright herbaceousness. In turn, basil builds flavorful complexity on the corn's starchy foundation. But where does the creamy part come in, you ask? Well, try this: After grilling or steaming your corn (and allowing it to cool), cut the kernels off with a sharp knife, turn the blade around, and scrape the cob with the flat end. The resulting milky liquid, when combined with shredded fresh basil, sautéed scallions, sweet butter, cooked orecchiette pasta, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and a snappy, freshly-grated Parmesan is summery beyond description.

We also love making basil butter to slather on our grilled corn right before sprinkling it with sea salt, because life is for the living. (Making basil butter is a 10-minute affair: Put some shredded fresh basil, salt, peeled garlic, and a few grindings of black pepper into a food processor and mince; then add sliced sweet butter and process to combine.) Let your sweet summer corn and leafy fresh basil get together in whatever ways you like, because it will never be bad.