Critic's Notebook

What Vegetable is All Over Menus Right Now?

Hint: You can find it with gnocchi, on pizza...even in dessert.

By Kathryn Robinson September 10, 2012

Just a few of the intriguing foodstuffs at Madison Park Conservatory.

You know it’s late summer in Seattle when fresh corn starts showing up as more than just a side dish for pork loin. It's everywhere right now.

A few weeks back at Oddfellows we enjoyed a plain yet satisfying toss of ricotta gnocchi, cilantro, pepper relish, and lots of fresh corn.

Later at Altura, corn showed up in the form of an amuse bouche of panna cotta, served all quivery and lush in a porcelain teacup with drops of olive oil and blue chive blossoms.

Last weekend we ordered Delancey’s wackiest special—its ricotta/mozzarella/garlic/Grana (a hard Italian cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano) “White Pie” scattered with corn and leaves of fresh basil. The flavors harmonized beautifully but a few at our table couldn’t get past the unexpected sensation of chewy corn kernels on pizza crust. No matter how great the pizza crust. (Others at the table, myself included, loved their sweet contribution.)

The next night at Madison Park Conservatory we encountered a veritable festival of corn puddings: The first as the sweet, kernel-rich foil to a sensational plateful of huckleberried quail; later as a smooth dessert, crowned with summer berries and caramel-drizzled popcorn.


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