Make These Curly Corn Ribs with Shishito Peppers for a Standout Side Dish
A recipe for spicy corn-on-the-cob, excerpted from Peak Season, a cookbook by Deirdre Buryk.
Corn on the cob is up there in my top ten childhood food memories. In Toronto, street festival or not, chaotic city sidewalks are filled with the smell of sweet and buttery corn cobs cooking on the grill. A local summer snack that is impossible to resist, these curly corn ribs are an ode to this specialty. They’re made with a simple marinade of puréed garlic, then quickly fried until they curl like the limbs of an octopus and served with cilantro-heavy zhoug: a common hot herb sauce served in Yemen, similar to chimichurri but with spices familiar to the Middle East.
Curly Corn Ribs with Fresh Zhoug & Shishito Peppers
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin 4 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 shishito pepper, seeds removed and roughly chopped
- ¼ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
Curly Corn Ribs
- 4 cobs corn, husks removed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced to a fine purée
- 4 cups (1 litre) vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 shishito peppers (or jalapeño peppers), seeds removed and thinly sliced, for serving
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, to season
To a mortar, add the cilantro, cardamom, cumin, garlic, and salt. Begin to grind and crush into a paste with the pestle. Add the shishito pepper and continue grinding. Lastly, pour in the olive oil and mix until a pesto-like consistency has formed. Taste before seasoning with more salt, if needed. Set aside for serving. Extra zhoug can be sealed in a jar or airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Rub the corn cobs with the minced garlic until every crevice has been coated. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the cobs into four quarters lengthwise (see Note). Place the corn cob “ribs” into a large bowl and set on the counter to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy pot over high, heat the vegetable oil. Once the temperature has reached 360ºF (182ºC), use a slotted spoon to gently submerge the corn “ribs,” one at a time, in the oil (this will avoid any hot splashes). Fry a maximum of four “ribs” at a time. Fry the cobs until they begin to curl and the kernels turn golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Once the cobs are ready, use the same slotted spoon to remove the corn. Let the cobs drain on a paper towel–lined plate. Continue this process until all the cobs have been cooked.
Plate cobs with the thinly sliced shishito peppers and large dollops of zhoug. Finish with flaky sea salt, to taste.
Note: The cobs are meant to be quartered, but if you have difficulty, then you need to get your knives sharpened. No need to risk your life; just cook them whole and fry a little longer than suggested, about 15 minutes.
Excerpted from Peak Season by Deirdre Buryk. Copyright © 2022 Deirdre Buryk. Photography © 2021 Janette Downie. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.