Summer’s not complete without devouring a few cobs of corn. And restaurants citywide are turning the versatile vegetable into dishes that’ll make you want to chow down even more. Here’s where to find the naturally sweet ingredient in everything from pops to pizza to Lebanese-inspired porridge. Plus, we’ve got a recipe for throwing corn on the grill, finished with a fancy, but incredibly easy-to-execute truffled flair.
Price: $3.70 plus tax
A summer staple, Lil’ Pop Shop’s corn pops are back, available through September. The pops are made with corn from local cooperative Lancaster Farm Fresh, steeped in a base of local milk and heavy cream. A generous dose of salt creates an addictive sweet-and-salty combo, one that’s thick and creamy in part from the natural starchiness of the corn.
“We put the cobs right into the base because there’s all this extra corn milk and sweetness in them,” says owner Jeanne Change. “It’s a really simple recipe, but local corn is just so delicious.”
How to get it: Open for pickup Wednesday through Sunday (hours vary) at both locations (229 S. 20th St. and 265 S. 44th St.); preorder online at lilpopshop.com/pre-order
In early July, customers started asking for it. “When’s the corn pizza going to return?” And now, timed with the local shucking season, it’s finally here.
“It’s summer on a pizza. It’s the best of Pa. and Jersey produce on a pie,” says Pizzeria Beddia chef de cuisine Jerome Skaggs.
The 16-inch white pies are spread with a sweet cream sauce, cooked down with smoky, pizza-oven-roasted corn kernels. Cutting the richness is a layer of marinated heirloom tomatoes and a drizzle of fresh basil vinaigrette. And topping it all is Beddia’s signature trio of cheeses: a low-moisture mozzarella, a fresh mozzarella, and a finishing touch of local Royer Mountain, a salty, aged cow’s milk cheese, “like pecorino without the strong funk.”
If you want to go all out, opt for the $4 bacon add-on. Sourced from Green Meadow Farm, it easily levels up the indulgence with an extra punch of smoky saltiness.
And for more corn? Try the new roasted eggplant sandwich, featuring just a touch — but a creative one — of corn sweetness. The sandwich comes on ciabatta, slathered with a housemade mayo that’s whipped with pureed sweet corn and a splash of toasted sesame oil.
How to get it: Order online at toasttab.com/pizzeria-beddia; Open for pickup (1313 N. Lee St.) and delivery daily (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.) On weekends, pizzas sell out fast (order a day in advance if possible).
Price: It’s part of a multicourse menu that’s $60 a person for takeout, and $100 a person for an intimate outdoor dining experience with expanded menu.
After the recent explosion in Beirut, chef-owner Ari Miller is raising money with his current “Lebanon” menu, available at least through the end of August. Ten percent of the cost of each dinner is donated to a Lebanese food bank. The menu’s dessert is all about the corn.
It’s Miller’s take on layali Lubnan. The dessert - it’s name translates to “Lebanese Nights” - traditionally features a creamy, semolina-based pudding with hints of orange blossom and rose water and topped with whipped cream.
In the Musi version, a corn polenta porridge takes centerstage, made with local sweet corn from Green Meadow Farm. Kernels are stripped and pureed to create the base, with a few whole ones mixed in for texture. After the porridge sets, it’s finished with a rose-extract-infused whipped cream.
“The original dish is more neutral and full of delicate flavor, but we’re always trying to include local partners,” says Miller. “Here you get a rich creaminess of the corn coupled with the creaminess of the whipped cream, and this floral rose that cuts through it all.”
To get a taste, you’ll need to commit to the whole Lebanon menu, which features other dishes with a twist, like tabbouleh speckled with peaches and cantaloupe, and shish barak, cinnamon-spiced lamb dumplings swimming in hibiscus-scented yogurt.
How to get it: Available for takeout Saturday and Sunday as part of a multicourse menu, 10 dinners per night only; order online at frizwit.square.site; also available at the “Picnic Table” as part of an expanded menu offered Saturday and Sunday (100 Morris St.); one reservation available per night (seats 4-6 people); reserve online at musiphilly.com
Chef Christopher Kearse’s silky corn chowder replaces the traditional heavy dairy base with coconut cream and comes topped with several texture-rich components.
The first is a mayo-based crab salad, seasoned with tarragon, Espelette pepper, celery, and orange zest. There’s also a gelled coconut puree, made from coconut water thickened by agar. A grain “granola” adds a light and crispy crunch.
“The granola’s really just a play on words — we use wild rice, rice kernels, quinoa, and sunflower seeds that we cook, dry, and then fry,” says Kearse. “They puff up just like Rice Krispies.”
How to get it: Open for outdoor dining and takeout, Wednesday through Sunday (4 p.m.-10 p.m.); make a reservation online at forsythiaphilly.com/reservations
Price: $5 per ear
It doesn’t take more than salt and butter to make grilled corn delicious. But Di Bruno Bros. is taking it up a notch with housemade truffle butter. Sold at Di Bruno’s Rittenhouse location, the pre-grilled ears are slathered with the butter and then rolled in Parmesan, parsley, and bread crumbs for a crispy finish.
To reheat, place the corn in an oven at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
Or if you have a grill, consider making your own version. Chef Ashley James, culinary director for Di Bruno Bros., shares his recipe below, with store-bought truffle butter and just eight minutes of grill time.
How to get it: Available in the to-go section at Di Bruno Bros. Rittenhouse location, 1730 Chestnut St.
6 ears of corn, shucked
3 ounces finely grated Parmesan
1 ounce toasted bread crumbs
¼ bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
4 ounces truffle butter, softened at room temperature
Season corn with salt and pepper. Place corn on a grill over medium heat for eight minutes, rotating by a quarter every two minutes.
While the corn is cooking, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, and ground black pepper; spoon onto a small flat tray or plate. Once corn is lightly charred and a little soft to the touch, remove from grill. Cool for two minutes.
With a pastry brush or a small spoon, generously coat the corn with the truffle butter. Immediately roll the buttered corn in the Parmesan crumb mixture. Serve.