I find the safest way to cut corn off the cob is to snap the shucked ears in half first. Then put one half, cut side facing down, on a large cutting board and slice down the cob with a sharp knife using a sawing motion. Keep turning the cob until you’ve cut off all the kernels.
Repeat with the other half. For convenience, I also put a large (old) dish towel over my cutting board before I start. When I’m done cutting, I can fold in the corners of the towel and easily transfer the kernels to a bowl. Any way you do it, be aware that corn kernels do have a tendency to go flying when you cut them.
To prep the green beans, trim the ends and slice them crosswise into pieces about the size of large peas.
Baby zucchini (about 3/4 in/2 cm thick) are pretty widely available now, and a snap to prepare because you just slice across them. But if you can’t find them, just cut slim zucchini into quarters lengthwise and then slice across.
To finish this dish, I like to combine three or four different tender herbs (whatever you’ve got, as long as some of them are mild like parsley—a tablespoon of thyme would be overwhelming). They all go well with the summer vegetables and lemon. This would be nice as a bed for a sautéed crab cake. When I’m in the mood for Thai flavors, I use the vegetables and proportions in this recipe but make a few flavor changes.
Instead of heavy cream, I use coconut milk. Instead of lemon, use lime. I add a little chopped lemongrass and use mint and cilantro for my herbs.
Excerpted from Fast, Fresh, and Green by Susan Middleton Copyright © 2010 by Susan Middleton. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.