TODAY

TODAY   |  July 25, 2013

Cooking with corn: Salads, soup, and more

Instead of just eating your summer corn straight from the cob, New York Times columnist Mark Bittman demonstrates how you can get creative in the kitchen, whipping up a raw corn salad with tomatoes and basil, a corn and coconut milk soup, and more.

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>>> we're back at 8:51 with how to cook everything on "today." here for corn. here to share his knowledge is mark ditt mapp, author of "eat vegan before 6:00."

>> anything better than fresh local sweet corn ?

>> not this time of year.

>> it really is.

>> how do you pick the best ear of corn etiquette-wise? you're in a supermarket. you're in a country stand. is it okay to open the husk?

>> as long as no one yells at you, it is. what you're looking for is straight kernels, not a lot of missing kernels. that one looks pretty perfect, i think.

>> and you want shiny and plump.

>> this should be bright green and as fresh looking as you can find.

>> first up, you're going to make a corn and tomato and basil sal salad.

>> this is the holy trinity . this time of year, corn, tomato, basil is perfect. you shuck the corn, try to make a stable platform for it. you can actually stand it up in a bowl because the kernels are going to go flying a bit. that's basically as simple as that.

>> just be careful. you don't want too much of the cob on there because it's not as good to eat.

>> you want a little -- i actually like a little of the cob because the cob, we'll get to this later, is chewy. i don't want to go like that.

>> no, no, right.

>> and then --

>> gather that up.

>> into the bowl.

>> do you wash it, do anything with it?

>> no. raw corn is nothing, so great. and then would you tear these and put them in here, please.

>> sure.

>> and some beautiful cherry tomatoes.

>> what do you do for a dressing on that?

>> oil and lemon juice .

>> the colors alone are great.

>> this just shouts summer to me, so beautiful.

>> little salt, pepper, lemon juice . you're in business.

>> perfect. let's move on to a warm corn salad now. this one, you've got black beans in it.

>> i love this because you take the kernels. you get some oil good and hot. and then you just let them sit until they really start to pop and darken like this. and some get crunchy. they get brown. they get sweeter. they get chewy. this is a beautiful thing.

>> you're going to add some beans and some onions to that. why do you like that combination of ingredients?

>> you get the sweetness and the more crunch from the onions. black beans , of course. it's kind of a corn salsa, but made as a salad. and the colors, again, very vibrant.

>> and, again, meant to be served warm. and then you top it with an egg.

>> i like to top this with an egg. just a fried egg , that little extra luxury here. break the egg over there.

>> great to throw a little diced chorizo in there.

>> chorizo, bacon, ham, sausage, can't go wrong.

>> let's go back here. i want to talk about this soup. this is corn and coconut?

>> this is a thai, basically a thai curry soup. so corn, milk or coconut milk , in this instance, and as i was saying before, the cobs have a lot of flavor, and you can make a terrific chowder using the cobs, just steeping the cobs in boiling water, milk, coconut milk , until their flavor comes out.

>> and talk about the herbs and spices.

>> thai basil , a little minced chili, and lemon grass . and the chowder itself has potatoes and corn, as almost any corn chowder would.

>> and finally, corn cakes. what's in those besides corn?

>> corn and crab. so they're corn crab cakes . of all the things here, you know the crew is going for this first, right?

>> speak of the devil . here we go.

>> who's the devil?

>> i didn't mean that. it was a figure of speech. you guys corn fans?

>> yes.

>> try the corn cakes. they come highly recommended.

>> corn crab.

>> mark, as always, thank you very much. good to see