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Inspiration

Sweetcorn with damsons, chilli, garlic and smoked paprika by Gill Meller

Sweetcorn with damsons, chilli, garlic and smoked paprika by Gill Meller

‘I can’t think of another vegetable that we eat like corn on the cob. The whole act is one of gleeful determination and desire. It feels very primal, like tearing meat from a rib. Cooking the corn over a hot, smoky fire imparts such a magical flavour in the sweet kernels. I like to serve the corn with a sharp damson sauce shot through with a little red chilli, apple cider vinegar and honey.’ – Gill Meller.

What you’ll need

A couple of good handfuls of damsons (about 18–20)

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp runny honey

4 corn on the cob, husks intact

50g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (optional)

A pinch of smoked paprika

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

What to do

  1. Use a sharp paring knife to halve the damsons and remove the stones. If they’re stubborn, use the tip of the knife to tease them out.
  2. Set a mid-sized pan over a low-medium heat and add the olive oil. When it’s hot, toss in the garlic, chilli and cumin. Allow the garlic to sizzle for a few moments, then add the halved damsons and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring once or twice. Now pour over the vinegar and honey and three tablespoons of water. Stir well. Cook until the damsons begin to break down and make a sauce – about six–eight minutes. The fruit should be soft and pulpy, but avoid making a pure ́e: you want a little texture to the damsons.
  3. Light your barbecue. Wait for the flames to die back, leaving a bed of hot, glowing embers. You shouldn’t be able to hold your hand over the grilling rack for more than a second.
  4. Place the corn (in their husks) on the grill, and cook, turning every three–four minutes for about 20 minutes, until the kernels are tender and cooked through (the husks will begin to char and blacken in places, but don’t worry about that, the corn will be steaming beautifully inside).
  5. Remove the cobs from the grill and, when the husks have cooled enough to touch, peel them back and pull away the silky threads. Place the corn on a serving platter or on individual plates, rub with softened butter (if using) and season with smoked paprika and salt and pepper. Serve with the damson sauce.

This recipe is taken from Gill’s book, ‘Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower’, which you can order online here.

Tags: Recipes