Pan-fried corn makes for a simple, summery side dish. Some recipes call for additional ingredients to create a smoky or spicy flavor, but pan-fried corn is a satisfying side dish even without the extras. When possible, start with fresh, whole corncobs rather than canned corn.
Shuck the corn free of its husks, exposing the corn kernels. Then, clean the corn. A vegetable brush can help scour the corn for remaining husks or soil that might have become caught in between the kernels.
Use a knife to gently separate the corn kernels from the cob. Insert the knife deeply enough to get the bulk of each kernel. Otherwise, you’ll leave most of the corn on the cob. If the kernels come off in small sections, use your fingers or a spoon to gently break up the sections.
Pour vegetable oil into a hot skillet, taking care to avoid being splashed. Use just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. As the oil warms, slowly stir in the corn kernels. With a spoon, stir the corn to evenly distribute them in the cooking oil. Pan-fry the corn for about three minutes, or until the kernels begin to brown.
Sprinkle additional ingredients into the corn as desired. Some other ingredients, such as fresh herbs, require less cooking time. Salt makes a nice contrast for the sweetness of the fresh corn. For a spicier dish, stir in chipotle or red pepper flakes.