in the midwest, you graduate high school and throw a party. everyone shows up, from your mother's mother's second husband's eldest daughter to the girl you furtively had a crush on in your fourth-year french class (the one you asked to borrow a pen from because you had deliberately forgotten your own. again.) they pull cold cans of beer out of ice baths and wipe the condensation from the aluminum. talk sports. talk politics. talk about the mayor, who lives down the street and is a friend of a family friend. they hug you. love you. "you're gonna conquer the world," they whisper in your ear. you fiddle with the holes in your sweatshirt sleeves and are not so sure about that.
for a long time, i had buried the idea of being midwestern. it's never glamorous, the small cities and long highway stretches through fields and farms, country roads with small houses, with windows that glow like fireflies when the sun sets. christmas tree farms. haystacks. pumpkin patches. now, i take some deep pride in it, my ears pricking up whenever i hear the word michigan calling me back.
i had begged my mother to make all my favorites - slow roast lamb, tzatziki sauce, and this corn - sweetened with barely caramelized shallots and brightened like summer with lime. i made this again the other night for our summer celebration dinner party - it's perfect to make ahead and quickly heat over the stove again when you're ready to serve.
6 ears of corn kernels, cut off
1/4 lb haricots verts, trimmed and halved
1 stick butter
2 large shallots, minced
2 limes, zested and juiced
salt and pepper to taste
heat butter in a large sautepan over medium heat. add shallots and reduce to low. cook for 10-15 minutes, or until they are soft and fragrant and beginning to brown. add corn and cover for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
bring a large pot of salted water to boil. add haricots verts and cook two minutes. retrieve and plunge in ice water. add to corn.
finish with lime juice and zest.