Blood is thicker than water, is what they say. My Korean roots betray me. As much as I used to say that I absolutely hated being Korean, eating Korean food, listening to Kpop and its likes for pretty much most of my life, these last three years have proven me wrong. So wrong. As embarrassing as it is to admit that I do enjoy a good K-drama and some raw tunes once in a great while, I embrace it now, and almost actually enjoy it in quite the masochistic sense of the word. Because if you haven't witnessed the torturing deliciousness of K-dramas, you must. Or maybe not. Actually don't, because you might regret it. I've come to the conclusion that with my birthday coming up in less than two weeks (yikes, 28 years!!!) and with a slightly matured perspective in life, I've learned to appreciate me a bit more than last year.
Me isn't defined by what I like or accomplish in life. But let's face it. When it comes to food preferences we are often shaped by our backgrounds. And in my case my strong Korean roots are partially to blame for. Imagine fresh corn bathed in an intoxicating gochujang and brown butter concoction. It sounds perfect right about now. And as usual, LA is being true to its nature and still holding on to dear summer which I find rather annoying as I try to squeeze in a fall outfit here and there. So here's to summoning fall with my favorite fall food which I actually eat all year 'round! Nothing is as comforting to the belly as spices and good old butter and thus, this corn recipe with the most disharmonious ingredients was born. Sometimes seemingly unexpected flavors like dill and wasabi , or black sesame and chocolate, can result in surprisingly delicious delicacies, so prep this corn as an accompaniment to your favorite fall dishes, or as the "mysterious" new addition to your Thanksgiving menu. Gochujang and red pepper flakes sound intimidating when paired with an ingredient like butter, but I promise it's far from overwhelming and the gochujang simply adds more character to grilled corn. As you may have noticed from previous posts, I adore the tangy taste of cheese over Korean spices and this corn recipe is no different. You can use any hard cheese but personally I've become enamored with Vermont white cheddar after "helping" (ahem) Selah eat her mac 'n cheese at Panera bread--which by the way--has got to be the best version I've tried. Unfortunately they won't tell us their secret, none except for the fact that they use Vermont white cheddar and milk. Hmm.
I chose to use cast iron in this recipe after learning that it produces a similar charred effect as grilling does. I'm not diligent enough to fire up the grill just for corn, so cast iron it was. Feel free to choose whichever method you prefer but adjust the necessary tools accordingly, and then try dipping French bread in the leftover sauce sticking to the pan. It is glorious!
Brown Butter Gochujang Glazed Corn with Vermont White Cheddar
Serves 4 as a side || Inspired by Sommer
Time: 20 minutes
Equipment: cast iron skillet or grill
2 large corns with husks removed
5 tbsp unsalted butter ***
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1 tsp gochujang (red pepper paste)
1-2 tsp honey
3 garlic cloves, minced
wedge of Vermont white cheddar (I love Sargento)
Preheat your cast iron on the stove at low-medium heat for 30 seconds. Melt butter and stir constantly for about 1 minute, letting it simmer ever so slightly and turn into a brown hue. Do not let it bubble up or it will burn. Turn off heat and transfer butter into a small bowl. Set aside.
Remove the husks, rinse the corn, and split into half. You will have four small corns. Keep in mind this recipe can be doubled or modified to your liking. In the bowl with the browned butter, mix in the salt, gochujang, gochugaru, honey, and garlic. Dip a kitchen brush in the mixture and glaze the corn thoroughly. Place them in the cast iron and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, carefully turning the corn every so often in order to prevent burning while still allowing it to char. Sprinkle a generous amount of grated Vermont white cheddar cheese, serve with bread or your favorite fall dish! Enjoy!