We should look to the Americas for inspiration on the best way to use corn – the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs were cultivating it and making tortillas de maíz back in 7000BC. Corn now provides about a fifth of human global nutrition, and is grown in such abundance that uses have been found for all its byproducts, from penicillin to loft insulation.
Fresh boiled corn smothered in salted butter is a showstopper, and perhaps the simplest and easiest way to enjoy the sweet kernels. It can also be used in a multitude of recipes, which must be tried and tested.
Barbecued corn works a treat and shouts 'summer', with the golden yellow kernels as bright as the sun, and it's my favourite summer food to cook on coals. It tastes so good with chimichurri sauce too. Corn fritters are a must on the to-do list, but make sure you use a fresh cob and not the canned stuff – there's no comparison. Other Latin-American dishes you must try are corn ice cream, tamales – corn parcels wrapped in the husk and steamed, a real comfort food – and little corn cakes called buñuelitos de maiz.
Look for corn in their husks and store them in the fridge as they will keep fresher for longer. Buy and eat corn as fresh as possible to catch it at its sweetest.
The Natural Cook by Tom Hunt is available now (Quadrille, £20). For more on Tom and his restaurants: tomsfeast.com; @tomsfeast