Buttery Balsamic Corn with Mushrooms and Grilled Onions

Fresh and sweet summer corn 
has a short season here,
I like making the most of it!

About as sweet and fresh as you can get...

Those were the days ~ growing up on the farm, running outside to our own sweet corn field, picking a few ears for Mom to boil quickly for lunch or dinner, maybe even breakfast, if she had her way!

I definitely took the abundance of fresh vegetables, fruit and meat for granted and didn’t realize how lucky I was until years later.

By the way, as you're driving down the road here in the Midwest, and you're seeing acre after acre of corn, don't assume you can leap out of the car and grab a dozen ears of sweet corn for your next meal.  Chances are, it's field corn...

Gravel road by a corn field

Sweet corn and field corn are cousins with very different tastes, different purposes

Sweet corn is harvested when the silks at the top of the ear are brown, when the kernels inside are fully developed.  The leaves wrapping around the ears are nice and green, with a little brown at the edges maybe.  Perfect for any meal!

Field of sweet corn

Sweet corn ear on the stalk

Field corn, aka cow corn, not so sweet, nor does it taste as good right off the cob.  Corn has a very high moisture content and field corn needs to dry out while the ears are still on the stalk. 

Silks commence to turn dark brown, shucks around the ears turn brown, the remainder of the corn plant dies, turning brown.  Finally, instead of being supported by the main stalk, ears fall with the silks pointing toward the ground.  That's the farmers' indicator to harvest.

Harvest time - Illinois field corn

Field corn kernels are a darker yellow and larger than sweet corn kernels.  Some of them have "dimples," another sign that the kernels have dried out; hence the name, "dent corn."

Dent corn

Cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, geese, deer and other wild animals love the taste of field corn ~ you want to attract Cardinals to your bird feeder?  Attach an ear to it!
Field corn is also the corn that is processed into corn meal or corn flour, and used in foods that have corn as an ingredient, such as corn flakes, and tortilla chips.  

And then, there's popcorn, another story...

Back to this recipe that’s slightly adapted from Fine Cooking magazine:

This is an easy, savory side dish that you can whip up quickly.

Uncooked corn?  Yes!  Just cut it off the cob raw.  It cooks quickly and is delicious prepared this way with the mushrooms and onion.   

The balsamic vinegar punches up the flavor in the vegetables, and the olive oil on the onion and butter to stir-fry the corn adds a dose of richness to the dish.  

While you’re grilling the onion for this tasty side dish, throw some chicken, steak or fresh tuna on the grate also:  Voila, Dinner!

Buttery Balsamic Corn with Mushrooms and Grilled Onion
Printable recipe


1 small Vidalia onion or red onion, cut into 3 or 4 slices
1 teaspoon olive oil, more as needed
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces button mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
3-4 ears fresh corn, cut off the cob
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, more to taste
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste


Prepare a medium-high grill fire.
Rub onion slices with a little olive oil, and grill, turning occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes.
Remove from the grill and coarsely chop.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat.
Add mushrooms, season well with salt and cook until light browned and almost tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add corn, onion, remaining butter and cook, tossing occasionally, until the corn is tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper and more vinegar.
Serves 4



  1. Those fresh corns must be particularly sweet and delicious. A wonderfully delicious and comforting dish, Pam.

    1. Thanks, Angie! I love corn! Have a great week!

  2. Thanks for the explanations..I never really knew.I adore corn Pam..I bought a very stupid corn contraption..that doesn't even work..I like the knife:) Thanks for the recipe too..my MIL used to blanch corn and freeze..it's one of my main food groups♥

    1. Ha, Monique ~ I never considered that but now it's definitely one of my main food groups! I have lots of gadgets but have only used a knife for corn. Thanks for the comment! Have a good day!

  3. I spent a few summers as a teen detasseling corn with my girlfriends! Your description of corn and the cornfields bring back fun memories. Nothing like good fresh, Midwest sweet corn. Your side dish looks wonderful!

    1. Thanks, Liz! I've detasseled a lot of corn in my day too. Yes, to the good fresh Midwest sweet corn! Take care

  4. Pam, My better half would love this side dish! Unfortunately for her, I don't like and won't eat mushrooms...one of her 'few' complaints about me... We both love corn and fresh sweet corn is just hard to beat in any format! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

    1. Hi Dave! I get it about the mushrooms, we have ones here who don't care for them either, but Bill and I love them! Fresh sweet corn rules! Have a good day!

  5. Good looking corn dish Pam. We've been enjoying some Colorado sweet corn from both sides of the Rockies.

    1. Thanks, Larry! I love sweet corn and Colorado too!

  6. That is one delicious corn recipe. I have yet to buy some this summer, yikes! And thanks for the corn lesson, I learned a lot!

    1. Thanks, Evelyne! Glad the corn lesson helped! Take care

  7. I love corn, and in your post I learned so much more about it! I can have this as my main meal...so much I like corn...thanks for the recipe Pam!
    Have a wonderful week :)

    1. Thanks, Juliana! It seems like corn is the one veggie everyone likes! Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Dear Pam, It must have been wonderful growing up on a farm. I suppose we all took our youth for granted thinking things would always be that way.
    This side dish is perfect for the nice bbq's of the last days of summer. xo Catherine

    1. Hi Catherine! It was the best! Loved the animals, fresh food and a couple of hundred acres to roam around! The corn dish is a great side, love the grilled onions with it! Hugs

  9. How wonderful to have experienced corn that was picked just a few minutes before cooking it! Must have been wonderful. And thanks for the corn primer -- I learned a few things I didn't know! Anyway, super post -- thanks.

    1. Thanks, John! Glad you liked it! Take care

    (it hates me, though)


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