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Sweet Corn Tips from 11 Los Angeles Chefs

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Elizabeth Daniels 3/13

It's the middle of summer in L.A. and that means that the local farmers markets are teeming with some of the best produce of the year. One of the most versatile ingredients out right now is corn, useful in both sweet and savory dishes across a number of different cuisines and styles of cooking. Eater asked chefs around town how they use seasonal sweet corn in dishes, along with tips on how to cook them at home.

Govind Armstrong, Willie Jane, Post & Beam: At home, my ideal way to prepare corn is on the grill. I pull back the husks, remove the silk, then slather the cobs with butter and some fresh chopped herbs- whatever is on hand. Then I pull the husks back over the corn, tie it with some butcher twine, and either dunk them in water or soak them for a bit. After this, throw them on the grill for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are plump.

Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Border Grill: While Mary Sue likes to eat the corn raw when it's in season, a great way to prepare corn is on the cob with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, cayenne pepper, butter, and lime. It's a street-food take on corn. Border Grill's corn esquite screams SUMMER to me – roast corn with tangy, spicy mayo and a dusting of sharp cheese is positively addictive. There won't be any leftovers, but if there were they would make a lovely salad for picnicking.

Bryant Wigger, Trattoria Neapolis: My favorite way to eat corn when I grill at home is grilled corn on the cob with butter and Chipotle powder. At Trattoria Neapolis, I love to take the grilled corn, grate it, add it to fresh ricotta and make agnolotti with truffle butter. It's a great summer treat.

Mette Williams, Culina: My favorite way to eat fresh summer corn is to slice it raw off the cobb and toss with cherry tomatoes, marjoram, pecorino and champagne mustard vinaigrette.

Karen & Quinn Hatfield, Hatfield's: We've been making a corn infused ice cream for years, but recently I decided to swirl in thick slightly salty caramel, which really took things to a new level.

Ross Pangilinan, Leatherby's Cafe Rouge: I make a great corn soup at Leatherby's, which starts with sweating corn, shallots and garlic in a stock pot, adding corn stock, and then let it cook for about twenty minutes. Blend it up and then pass through a sieve for a smooth texture. At the restaurant, I top the soup with a cilantro pesto and garlicky sauteed shrimp.

Daniel Roberts, Cafe Del Rey: There's a few things I do with corn when it's in season. We make a house made agnolotti of sweet corn with a corn beurre fondue and roasted corn. There's also a grilled halibut with corn, fresh chick peas, capers, roasted garlic, cilantro, and a fresh tomato, cucumber, and melon relish for a great summer dish. And finally we serve a sweet corn ice cream.

David Myers, Comme Ca: Myers prepares the wild mushroom cavatelli with fresh pasta, fava beans, and parmesan and then add sweet roasted corn to round out the dish.

Josiah Citrin, Melisse: One might think that black truffles might overshadow corn, but it works perfectly with agnolotti. The truffles I get are from Australia, which are in season in the summer instead of Perigord black truffles, which are only available in autumn and winter. The dish I make is a white corn agnolotti with brown butter truffle sauce that's then topped with the truffles.

Minh Phan, Beachwood Cafe: There are so many ways to use corn! We use it in one of our signature dishes, a bacon and corn orzo that's braised in cream for something similar to mac and cheese. I also make a corn & sweet potato succotash with lime, coconut, cilantro, and thai bird chilis for some heat.

Mirko Paderno, Oliverio: I really enjoy grilled yellow corn as a salad with smoked yellowfin tuna and Italian burrata cheese. Corn is so versatile and can fit with any type of food, so I recommend incorporating different preparation techniques (smoke, grill, etc.) and textures to give the dish character.

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