Minnesota has a great State Fair (don't miss it, don't even delay...). However, when I was growing up, my family did not really appreciate it. We were not farm people. And my mother's European sensibilities made her look at the fair with a raised eyebrow. But, then some of our dear friends took us with them for the real fair experience. These friends grew up on farms in Southern Minnesota. They were 4-H kids. The fair was their only vacation during the year. They knew how to do the fair right. They showed us how to drop by the Culligan Man, the Knife Man, "Piggy Mamma," the butterheads, the giant slide, the Charmin' bathroom... and most importantly, how to eat our way from one stand to the next. If it's remotely edible, you can find it on a stick at the fair.
But, the very, very best food is the grilled corn. Freshly picked corn, grilled, then dunked in a vat of melted butter and handed to you along with a can-sized shaker of salt for you to use at your discretion. That's my best fair food. But, it's not much of a recipe, is it? So, I decided to gussy it up, just a bit.
Somewhere, at some point, I read the words, "corn with smokey peach butter," and they have stuck in my head. I decided that is what I would make. Grilled corn with smokey peach butter. I tried making the peach butter with pureed, grilled peaches first, but the texture and flavor wasn't what I was looking for. Plus, the hot peaches melted the butter too much, and I didn't want to have to wait for it to cool back off before spreading it on my corn. (Though, brushing it all over the hot corn would be good.) I got results I liked more by using good quality peach preserves and smoked sea salt. The corn with the peach is so summery. It has that sweet, salty quality that people find addictive in kettle corn, but it's oh so much better than kettle corn. Oh, and the smokey peach butter is also phenomenal on biscuits. And if you don't have smoked sea salt, it's really good with plain sea salt too (it's just not smokey). - fiveandspice —fiveandspice
Test Kitchen Notes
I made this for my family with homemade peach preserves. The butter is subtle, more of a background flavor to enhance the natural sweetness of the corn and the smokiness from the grill. Once I convinced my semi-picky preschooler to try it, he gave it a thumbs up. A nice way to push the boundaries just a little. The smokey peach butter would be amazing on corn bread, too. - arielleclementine —arielleclementine
unsalted butter, slightly softened
(generous) really good quality peach preserves (you know, blue ribbon quality)
smoked sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
In a small bowl, stir together the butter, peach preserves, and smoked salt. Taste and add more salt to taste. Store in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it, but take it out a bit early to soften.
Fire up the grill. Rub each ear of corn with a little bit of oil. Then, grill over high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on the outside and the kernels are just tender, about 12 minutes.
Serve slathered with smokey peach-butter and sprinkle with additional smoked sea salt, if desired. And, if you really want to make sure the butter gets mixed in well, cut the grilled corn kernels from the cob and mix them with the butter in the bowl.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.