A Summer Special Recipe: Mirai Sweet Corn
By Jonathan SooHoo
Sweet corn is a summer favorite, a barbeque staple, something to counterbalance the ribs you might have had too many of. It’s versatile: You can grill it, steam it, even microwave it if you’re short on time. But in addition to regular supermarket corn, summer offers some specialty varieties of sweet corn only available for a few months out of the year.
Relatively new varieties of sweet corn have started popping up such as Providence (described as creamy, tender, and sweet) and Vision (very tender, very sweet) from descriptively-named brands like X-tra Tender and Gourmet Sweets. My favorite kind? Mirai (pronounced ME-rye) sweet corn. Mirai was first grown in Harvard, IL as a product of cross-breeding different types of sweet corn. It’s non-GMO and absolutely delicious. The kernels are tender enough to be eaten raw. When slightly chilled, mirai corn is a surprisingly refreshing snack on humid Chicago summer days. It can also be cooked, and my aunt maintains that mirai is best when microwaved for 1-2 minutes under a damp paper towel. Either way, it’s sweet enough to forsake the traditional hearty helpings of butter which lets you enjoy all the more corn without the unhealthy extra fat. It’s not a big enough crop to be sold at supermarkets yet so you can find it at farmers markets around the Chicagoland area.
Try out mirai sweet corn in this easy fresh corn salad recipe from Ina Gartner! The best thing is that by substituting mirai, which can be eaten raw, for regular sweet corn, you don’t have to turn on the oven or the stove to make this dish!
Fresh Corn Salad
Serves: 4-6 servings
Time: 10 minutes
5 ears of mirai sweet corn, shucked
1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
Rinse and then cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob. Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasoning and serve cold or at room temperature.