It’s that time of the year. Corn is everywhere!
If there’s one food that’s synonym of Summer, it’s most certainly corn on the cob.
I have warm memories of those corn roast parties we used to have at home as I was growing up. I’m not sure if corn roast parties are even a thing anywhere else in the world, but in the small Quebec in which I grew up, they are a highly anticipated annual tradition. It’s basically an outdoor party at which guests shuck a tremendous amount of fresh ears of corn, boil them in the biggest cooking pot that can be found and eat them. It’s a nice farewell to Summer celebration that we affectionately call “épluchette de blé d’inde”.
The tradition also usually involves the election of a “queen or king” of the party. One corn is “marked” (usually by colouring a few grains of the ear before putting back the husks) and then hidden among the mountain of ears of corn to peel. The lucky person who finds that special corn during the shucking process is “crowned” king or queen of the day.
Sadly, the production quality of most corn has dramatically decreased in the past decades (mostly due to our high demand for modified and processed corn products such as high fructose corn syrup). The vast majority of corn planted in the U.S. is now genetically modified. Although some people claim that GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) are safe, we are still unsure of the long-term effects of their consumption on humans. Researches done on animals show that GM foods could potentially present a serious threat to our health.
Side effects of GMO consumption could include allergic reactions, toxicity, organ defects, reduced immune function, nutritional deficiency and even carcinogenic effect.
Despite corn’s bad reputation, I still believe that it can be incorporated into a healthy whole foods diet as it’s a great source of insoluble fiber, antioxidants and minerals. The key is to source your corn from smaller, local farmers whom you trust. Ask them about their growing practices and try to get certified organic, non-GMO corn whenever possible.
Growing up, I’ve always had my corn boiled and served with lots of butter and table salt. This was until I discovered the joy of grilling the cob (which was a a total game changer), and enjoying it with a spicy mayo, fresh cilantro and lime (a killer trio!).
So of course, I had to make my own healthy version of a spicy “mayo”. This mayo is SO easy to make, and I swear your guests won’t notice that it’s healthy. You simply make it with cashews that have been pre-soaked in water for a few hours. You blend them with some garlic, spices, lime and chili paste and you get the most creamy, delicious, healthy, vegan spicy mayonnaise ever.
This recipe is delicious on its own, but you could add some crumbled feta cheese for a delicious non-vegan option.
Feel free to adjust the amount of chili paste depending on the level of spiciness you can handle. This spicy mayo would also be amazing in tacos, burritos, tortillas or even as a spiked vegetable dip.
- 1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 2-4 hours)
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1 ½ tsp sambal oelek (chili paste)
- Juice of 1 lime & zest of ½ lime + more lime wedges to serve
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp water
- A handful fresh cilantro, chopped
- 12 corn ears
- Start by soaking the cashews in fresh water for at least 2-4 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Place cashews in your blender. Add garlic, sambal oelek, lime juice and zest, sea salt and cumin. Blend.
- With the blender still running, add water, starting with ¼ cup. Then add one tablespoon at a time until you’ve achieved the desired consistency.
- Peel the corn. Place the ears on a medium-hot grill. Roast them turning occasionally, until toasted, about 12-15 minutes. (If you don't have a BBQ, you can grill the corn in the oven using the "broil" setting. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn).
- Place corn on a plate and drizzle with a generous portion of the spicy mayo. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
Look closely at the present you are constructing, it should look like the future you are dreaming.