For us, Summer consists of mostly simple meals. Fresh produce, prepared to bring out its true flavors, with only minimal cooking involved. Fresh herbs and spices abound, and meat, most oftentimes grilled, takes on more of a supporting role than being the center of the dishes on our plates.
Chicken palliards, or chicken breasts that have been pounded to a mere 1/4"- 1/2" thick (a great stress reliever!) and flavored with a sprinkling of a myriad of spices and a bit of extra virgin olive oil, has become a favorite of mine. Best about them is that they can act as a perfect canvas for whatever cuisine you're craving. So in a reversal of my usual way of thinking, I've been deciding on my side dishes first - whatever vegetables looked most beautiful and full of flavor, or that needed to be used up, lest their delicious natural sugars begin turning into starch or they not be caught at the peak of their flavor.
This particular evening, I wanted to use up sweet, succulent summer corn. There's a vendor at the Farmer's Market who brings huge piles of corn in on the back of his truck every week when it's in season. It usually disappears by noon, so if I can get there early enough, I always stop there first. We decided on a Mexican theme for dinner to go with the corn, pounded and grilled our chicken (I left the chicken and the spice mix up to LB this time, so I don't know what he put in it), and I took that delicious corn, placed it on a baking sheet and roasted it, husks and all, for half an hour in the oven at 350 F.
Now, I love corn on the cob. But for some reason, I love corn even more when it doesn't get stuck in my teeth and require me have to floss them; so I always cook it on the cob, and then cut it off - it just tastes better that way! Once the corn was cool enough to handle, I husked it (corn cooked this way is easily de-husked because the silk and husks dry out), cut the sweet kernals off, added just a touch of butter, about 1/2 tsp of chili powder, salt and pepper, the juice from half a lime, and about a 1/2 tsp. of zest as well...so I guess you could call it Chili-Lime Corn. I had seen various renditions of it from various places...this was just mine. It was excellent, and the corn flavor still shone brightly through and went perfectly with the chicken, and the fresh heirloom tomatoes draped over it (drizzled with just a touch of olive oil). You could even add a bit of chopped cilantro to the mix, although I only garnished with it. Ahhh...the simple joys of summer food!