Korean corn cheese a fresh spin on classic grilled cheese
Many seasonal ingredients are around for a very short window of time; their fleetingness is part of their allure. You get excited for them to arrive, eat as much as you can of them while they’re around, and then pine for them the remaining 50 weeks of the year. Sour cherries in the summer, ramps (on the East Coast) in late spring, persimmons or clementines in the winter — all foods that we desperately want more of but nature stingily keeps from us for most of our lives.
Then there are those ingredients that are technically seasonal but also are so abundant throughout the year that we forget why they’re so special to begin with. Chief among these is corn. Don’t get me wrong, I know that, come late summer, corn can be delightfully sweet, tender and aromatic. But also, corn is available all year round.
Right now, corn is in season, and it’s perfect. My current favorite way to eat it is to make Korean “corn cheese,” precisely because it’s so outlandishly wonderful. Corn cheese, as anyone who’s ever been to a Korean barbecue restaurant knows, is a concoction of corn topped with melted mozzarella cheese.
I like to sandwich it between two thick slices of sourdough bread and call it a grilled cheese, which I’ll eat with a salad because, you know, balance.
A light sautee, a small pinch of sugar, and then a mix with melty cheeses and just enough mayonnaise to bind, it turns the corn into a killer grilled cheese sandwich filling.
It’s a sandwich I crave and, luckily, can make any time I want it, no matter the season.
Makes 4 sandwiches
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
11/2 cups corn kernels (3 to 4 ears)
Granulated sugar (optional), if you think the corn needs it
2 tablespoons mayonnaise, plus more for brushing
8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
4 ounces fontina or provolone cheese,
shredded (1 cup)
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices really good sourdough bread, cut 3/4-inch thick
Heat the butter in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook,
stirring, until soft and just beginning to brown at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the corn and sugar (if using) and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Scrape the corn into a bowl and let cool for
10 minutes (wipe the skillet clean and reserve). Stir in the 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, followed by the mozzarella, fontina and parsley, and
season with salt and
Brush a thin layer of mayonnaise on each slice of the sourdough bread, then turn the slices over. Divide the corn mixture among 4 slices of bread, then sandwich them with the other 4 slices. (Make sure the mayonnaise sides are facing outward.)
Heat the reserved skillet over medium heat. Add 2 sandwiches to the skillet, cover and cook, flipping once, until golden brown outside and the cheese is melted inside, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
As soon as they’re cooked, cut the sandwiches in half and eat, taking care not to burn your mouth on the