Johanna Wilson of Charlotte writes: “I’m from Eastern North Carolina, where corn is a standard (Silver Queen) and Rooster’s beats every way I’ve ever tasted it or prepared it. Hands down.”
The recipe for Rooster’s skillet-fried corn is as much about technique as it is ingredients.
Speaking of ingredients, there are only two – four if you feel like adding salt and pepper. Jack Dillon, the general manager at the SouthPark location of Rooster’s, says people ask if sugar is added to the corn. But the sweetness they taste is the corn’s natural sugar developing.
Dillon says the restaurant tries to use as much local corn as possible.
I believe a critical part of this simple recipe is getting corn that is still in the husk, as it’s less likely to have dried out. Part of the magic that happens in the skillet is when the corn’s juices emulsify with the butter as it melts.
Now that we’re exiting summer and heading toward winter, if you can’t find corn in the husk, try to find out when it was shucked. If it was the same day, you should be OK.
Dillon recommends using a cast-iron skillet. However, I have a smooth-top stove, which doesn’t take kindly to rough-bottom cast iron. I used a heavy, nonstick skillet. Heat it until it nearly singes the skin from your finger when you test to see if it’s hot enough. That will allow you to develop a lovely brown caramelization on the edges of the kernels.
Robin Domeier is owner of Nibbles Personal Chef.
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