Juicy, ripe, peak-season ingredients don’t need much help. Amanda Hesser wrote about this years ago, with her Brown Butter Tomatoes, and the simplicity of that dish has stuck with me to this day. Here, I’ve swapped out tomatoes and called in corn. While many recipes cook this ingredient—boil, roast, pan-sear, grill, etc—one of my favorite preparations is leaving it raw, when it is sweet and succulent, like just-picked blueberries. In this recipe, we’ll toss the kernels with chopped chives, then douse that mixture with brown butter and fried Fresno chiles. (Fresno chiles are comparable in spice to jalapeños. If you aren’t one for spicy things, use just a few slivers, or skip them altogether.) The dish looks borderline fancy, but takes minutes, and gets along with any protein, from chicken to fish. One thing to keep in mind before you get started: Make sure the corn is room temperature, not cold. If it’s cold, the butter will seize up quicker, giving you less time to relish the dish. You want to eat it right away, while the butter is still warm and melty. —Emma Laperruque
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Fresh Corn Salad With Brown Butter, Chives & Chiles
ears corn, at room temperature
finely chopped chives, at room temperature
kosher or flaky salt, plus more to taste
Fresno chile, sliced into coins as thinly as possible, plus more to taste
Use a very sharp knife to cut the corn kernels off the cob. Add them to a bowl along with the chives. Season with a pinch of salt and toss. Taste and add more salt if needed. Divide between two plates.
Add the butter to a very small saucepan, along with the chile slices, and set over medium heat. Melt the butter until the milk solids at the bottom of the pan start to brown and smell like toasting hazelnuts. This will take about 4 minutes, but the best thing to do is watch it like a hawk as soon as the butter has melted. Take the butter as far as you possibly can without burning it, then immediately spoon it over the corn-chive mixture. Top with the fried chiles and another pinch of salt.
Encourage everyone to toss the mixture a bit so the corn gets completely coated and eat immediately while the butter is still warm.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.