I wanted to create a new recipe using fresh corn, since I live in Ohio (which is a sea of corn right now) and the corn here is really inexpensive. I am always on the lookout for new ways to serve up summer fresh local corn. The tassels on the corn just started popping a couple of weeks ago, and I have heard that the abundance of rain has sped up the growing process so this year’s corn will be in to market sooner (and sadly, out of the market sooner at the tail-end as well).
I’d seen a picture somewhere that someone wrapped a piece of prosciutto around the corn, but no author or website was attached. But as much as I love to credit the idea, it is not a big stretch to make this recipe on my own. Certainly I have wrapped other veggies such as asparagus with prosciutto and liked it.
I did spend some time thinking how I would get the ham in there. As you know, corn husks tend to rip and tear. It wasn’t that long ago I had seen a tip someone shared on Facebook about microwaving corn, cutting off the end, and squeezing it out like toothpaste. (I did test that one out and it works). I had already figured out from a Tyler Florence recipe that you could just toss corn in the oven, bake it half and hour, and it would shuck easily and the corn done nicely. (I also tried the cutting the end off and squeezing the corn on the oven baked corn too and it also works!). But testing these, I do know that corn as it heats in the husk steams, and the outer leaves get soft and pliable, making it easy to bend them back.
So a word of advice here: even when you are not doing the awesome Sue Lau prosciutto wrap on your corn, do try putting it in the microwave to steam a little before tossing on the grill. It’s going to replace the annoying water soak we had to do with fresh grilled corn.
But anyway, the method works great for softening those up. I call for 1-2 pieces of prosciutto depending on how much of the corn you want wrapped. Two pieces should cover the kernels completely, but I actually just prefer one since the ham is a little salty and has a strong flavor. After the corn cooks, the prosciutto sticks pretty well and is easy to bite without the ham flipping right off the ear. If you use bacon to try this, I suspect the bacon will slide right off. I actually made jalapeno poppers with bacon before that did that and felt it was a waste of time. But there again, I think prosciutto would do well on the jalapenos too. So there’s an idea for you!
As far as the local farm markets around Cincinnati go, we have a ton of stand alone farms and stands who do retail, as well as local events where the farms bring in their produce and the occasional watermelon stand on the side of the road. CSA is readily available here. CSA is community supported agriculture, whereas at the beginning of the season you sign up with local farmers for a set fee, and each week they get you a basket of their week’s foods, divvied up amongst the people in the CSA. It is usually a very good deal, especially if you have a family. It is better than just buying produce “ala carte” because CSA gets the first share of food, and there may not be any left for retail. If you want info on farm markets and CSA’s near you I have a great resource I keep bookmarked:
Grilled Prosciutto Corn
2 ears fresh in husk corn
2-4 slices shaved prosciutto
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper
1. Place corn in the microwave and run on high for 5 minutes.
2. Peel off the outermost husk leaves (the ones with the dry dark tips) leaving the other leaves intact. Gently pull those leaves back (they should be soft and steamy from the microwaving), and remove the silks.
3. Rub some butter over the corn, sprinkle with seasonings, then wrap 1-2 thin shaved pieces of prosciutto around the corn.
4. Pull the husk leaves up around the corn again, and tie in the middle and towards the tip with a piece of water-soaked kitchen twine.
5. Grill 10-15 minutes until done, moving corn away from the heat if the husks begin to burn.
6. Serve with hot butter.
See related post on A Palatable Pastime: Elote-Mexican Grilled Corn