Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tex-Carib Lives!

I've really been thinking a lot about the culinary mindset I'm bringing back from Haiti. The ideas I'm getting, and already playing with, aren't going to get me a Nobel prize or anything, but they're fun, gosh darn it. It's kinda like the things I already like to cook and eat, but a little different. Different peppers, spices (or spice combinations), and ingredients (plantains, mangoes). But much of the technique involves things that land squarely in my arena, such as grillin', chillin', and fryin'.

Okay, so chillin' is not a technique, but it is a necessary mindset to Tex-Carib cookin'. So is ending an inordinate amount of words with apostrophes. Yo.

First up- the Haitians were selling corn, that they apparently grow in their yards or any other square foot of soil they can find, hot off the grill. A grill in Haiti, mind you, is really a grate laid across some bricks with some burning wood or charcoal underneath. Like camping, but on a sidewalk. In a city.

So how do you make sidewalk grilled corn Tex-Carib grilled corn? You experiment to make it better than the original.

Corn Three Ways- The Experiment

The corn I saw being grilled was all shucked and getting caramelized over the fire. I've always grilled my corn in the husks so they steam some too, but it's always taken a while to cook that way. So what we did was take three ears, and prepare them three different ways. One all the way shucked, one partially, and one just a wee bit. All of the shucks were rolled back and the silks removed before cooking.

The Results:
Nice picture, ain't it? You should click on it to see it full sized.

Here's the breakdown: the un-shucked ear tasted great, until we tasted the next one, and then the next one after that. The steaming action of the shuck made the corn taste "cornier," which we liked better. The solution? Grill it all with the shuck on, then remove the shuck and throw it back on the heat for a minute to get the sweet caramelized nuggets of brown.

I'm not saving the world here- I just want the grills of said world to yield tastier food. You know, in case I come over to eat. Come back soon for some Tex-Carib classics such as mango-habanero hot sauce and Cap'n Shrimpy's butterflied grilled shrimp, which make this corn look like a side dish.

1 comment:

Christi L. said...

Man, I love grilled corn! I don't take the silk off of mine, just soak them for a few minutes then throw them on the grill. GOnna have to try shuck and then putting back on for the caramelization!