The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye

travfoodcornCORN not only grows tall, as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Curly sings in Oklahoma!, it is also big business in the USA.

Private chef Philippa Davis from Shaftesbury has been working on the millionaires’ summer resort of the Hamptons, north of New York and learning about this multi-billion dollar staple of American food and farming …

I was excited to be whisked northwards from New York’s JFK airport to the Hamptons, Long Island, famous for The Great Gatsby, Maria Carey, Billy Crystal, Blue Oyster Cult, Donna Karan, Billy Joel, Jackie Kennedy, Steve Madden, beautiful beaches and golden corn.

travfoodcorn3jpgIn 2015, the USA produced i$49 billions-worth of corn harvested from 88 million acres of land. That’s a lot.

While doing my usual scouting trip around the local farms, markets and shops I found a roadside stall belonging to the adjoining farm that boasted of its “world-famous corn.”

I think it would be practically impossible to start saying where the best corn was grown but what really matters when buying and eating it is how fresh is it is. Once picked that delicious sweetness starts turning into starch so time is of the essence!

Healthwise corn has lots of antioxidants and vitamins and contains soluble and insoluble fibre. The insoluble fibre helps the good bacteria in our gut.

When not eating corn or discussing politics we managed to slip in a fair few sugar highs with cookies, brownies (it will always remain a mystery as to what happened to that second box), shortbreads and ice creams, nicely balanced with some simply grilled delicious local fish, fresh juices and salads.

travfoodcorn2In this recipe, grilling the corn adds a delicious element and putting it in a salad helps stop the urge to smother the blackened, sweet, juicy corn in butter although that’s probably the best way to eat it.

Grilled corn, fig and tomato salad with maple syrup and cheese dressing

Serves 4

travfoodcorn44 ripe figs cut in quarters
2 corn
300g tomatoes (whichever variety is best)
150g leaves
100g roughly chopped almonds


Juice from half a lemon
1tbs maple syrup
100g grated cheese (I used comte but you could use blue, cheddar or goat)
1tbs mayonnaise
2tbs extra virgin olive oil

travfoodcorn5To make the dressing: Sprinkle some salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice then in this order the syrup, cheese, mayo and finally the olive oil.

Blanch the corn for about 8 minutes in a large pot of boiling non salted water, you want the corn to be just cooked. Drain then grill for about 5 minutes on a medium heat so most of the outside has taken on some colour. Leave to cool slightly then slice off the kernels

To assemble the salad, toss the figs, leaves, tomatoes , almonds and corn in the dressing and pile onto a plate.

Follow Philippa’s travels and recipes on her blog,