Baby Corn from Chino Farms ($1/each)
Baby corn is almost a cliché. Think of that silly scene in Big when Tom Hanks as a kid in an adult body encounters it at a swanky company party and tries to nibble off the itty bitty kernels as though it were just a miniature corn on the cob.
But, fresh baby corn, which you can find at Chino Farms for a dollar apiece, is nothing in flavor like what you find canned—any more than canned water chestnuts have the bright sweetness of fresh. The whole ear of corn is deceptive, though. In the husk, it can be as long as nine inches or so. But remove the husk and the corn silks and you have the familiar little baby about two inches long—which, of course, you eat whole.
So, how do you prepare fresh baby corn? Certainly eat it raw—in a salad or perhaps as part of a charcuterie plate. Gently and quickly stir fry it—along with the soft silk—to bring out its sweetness. Grill it with peppers and squash. Or, make pickles.
Chino Farms is located at 6123 Calzada del Bosque (off Via de la Valle) in Rancho Santa Fe. The sign says The Vegetable Shop.
Photos by Caron Golden