This sweet corn with a little smoke, green beans skillet, and cumin is one of my absolute favorite side dishes. To make these flavors pop, I used two simple techniques – blooming and caramelizing.
How to Make This Side Dish
Before I added the corn, I “bloomed” the cumin spice and red pepper flake in a cast iron skillet. “Blooming” is a technique of adding spices to oil in the pan and allowing them to deepen their flavor before adding in additional ingredients.
It makes a big difference in this dish and boosts flavor instantly. In this dish, the flavor boost added some extra smokey, spicy, and toasty flavors. Take a couple of minutes to add the spices at the beginning and you’ll notice a difference.
Next up, caramelization brings on the nutty and toasty sweetness. Caramelizing is simply browning sugar, but the flavor is anything but simple. Corn has a characteristic sweetness that lends perfectly to this dish. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon often during cooking to capture as much sweetness as possible.
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Caramelized Corn and Green Bean Skillet with Cumin
- 4 quarts water divided (3 quarts for boiling, 1 quart for ice bath)
- 1 ½ tsp. salt divided (1 teaspoon for boiling water, ½ teaspoon for seasoning corn)
- 1 lb. green beans trimmed
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tsp. cumin
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flake or more if more spice is desired
- 4 ears corn shucked, kernels cut off the cob
- Bring 3 quarts of water to boil. Add 1 tsp. of salt and green beans. Cook for about 3 minutes. Transfer beans into ice cold water and allow to cool.
- Melt butter in heavy bottomed skillet (like a cast iron). Once melted and starting to foam, add in cumin and red pepper flake and saute until fragrant. Careful not to burn spices.
- Add in corn kernels. Lower heat to low-medium and cook for 15-20 minutes or until corn is caramelized or browned. Stirring often and scraping bottom of pan to prevent burning.
- Drain green beans and add to skillet. Cook until beans are warmed through.
- Season with remaining salt or to taste.