Roasted Corn with Wild Greens Pesto

Get a taste of Minnesota this summer with a local favorite

Roasted corn on a grill.
Roasted corn

photo by Phillip Breker


Serves 4 to 6

Corn, when it’s just picked, is full of natural sugars that caramelize to perfection on the grill or in a hot oven. Nothing could be easier or more satisfying than freshly roasted sweet corn.

4 to 6 large ears fresh, sweet corn 

1 sunflower or hazelnut oil

2 to 3 tbsp. Wild Greens Pesto*

Prepare a hot charcoal grill or preheat the broiler to high. Shuck the corn and rub lightly with the oil. Set the corn directly on the grill or under the broiler and roast, rolling the cobs occasionally, until all sides are nicely browned, being careful they don’t burn, about 5 to 7 minutes’ total cooking time. Serve with dollops of Wild Greens Pesto.

Chef’s Note: 1 ear of corn will yield about 1 cup of corn kernels. Save those corn cobs for corn stock.

Wild Greens Pesto

Makes 11⁄2 cups

To make a bold, flavorful pesto, I try to balance a range of flavors: fragrant mint, potent mustard, citrusy sorrel or purslane, bitter dandelion, neutral lamb’s quarters. Making pesto the old-fashioned way by pounding together the greens, nuts, and oil will yield a thick, rough sauce.

If you’d like something smoother, blend it all together in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. This will keep a week or more in the refrigerator in a covered container. Wood sorrel, like its domestic cousin, adds a bright, lemony flavor to this sauce.

2 cups wild greens, some combination of sorrel, dandelion greens, purslane, lamb’s quarters, wild mint, and mustard

1 wild onion or 1⁄4 cup chopped shallot

1⁄4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1∕3 to 3⁄4 cup sunflower or hazelnut oil

Pinch salt

Pinch maple sugar

Pound together the greens and sunflower seeds with a mortar and pestle or by whizzing in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Slowly work in the oil and season to taste with salt and a little maple sugar.

RECIPE FROM THE SIOUX CHEF’S INDIGENOUS KITCHEN BY SEAN SHERMAN WITH BETH DOOLEY (UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA PRESS, OCTOBER 2017) COPYRIGHT 2017 GHOST DANCER, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED BY PERMISSION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA PRESS

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