This quick stir-fry doesn’t need any accompaniment—it stands on its own beautifully. It can be served hot from the skillet, or you can chill the corn base and then fold in the crab and tarragon to serve as a satisfying salad. Spoon it into baked mini tart shells for a really lovely hors d’oeuvre.

To prepare the roasted corn, you can fire-roast it right on your gas stove. Or, if you have the grill going a day or two ahead, throw the corn on and grill it until marked in spots, then just cut the kernels off and refrigerate or freeze until needed. Alternatively, if you live near a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, pick up a bag or two of frozen roasted corn. Be sure to let frozen corn sit out at room temperature to defrost before using it; adding frozen corn to the hot pan will quickly lower the temperature of the skillet and cause you to steam, rather than stir-fry, the corn.


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cups diced onions
  • ¼ cup salted peanuts, lightly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1-½ teaspoon wet kokum, thinly sliced and seeded
  • 1 serrano chile, finely minced
  • 3 cups fire-roasted corn, (recipe follows) or defrosted frozen fire-roasted corn
  • ¼ teaspoon ground star anise
  • 3 cups lump or jumbo lump crabmeat, fresh or high-quality canned , picked over to remove shells
  • 3 tarragon sprigs, leaves coarsely but gently chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large sauté pan or chicken fryer, heat the oil over high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and stir-fry until lightly colored but still firm, 8 to 12 minutes. Push the onions to one side of the pan and add the peanuts, ginger, garlic, kokum, and chile to the other side. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir the onions into the peanut mixture. (The recipe can be made through this step up to 1 day in advance, cooled, and refrigerated. Return the mixture to the pan and heat over medium-low heat until hot, then turn the heat to high for the next step.)

2. Add the corn and star anise and cook, stirring, until the corn is heated through.

3. To serve hot, fold in the crab and tarragon and cook just until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

4. To serve cold, remove the pan from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate the corn until well chilled, or for up to 1 day. Stir in the crab and tarragon just before serving.


Fire-Roasting Corn: The toasty sweet flavor of fire-roasted corn can’t be beat, and the process takes only a few minutes on a gas stove. If you don’t have a gas stove, you can use a gas or charcoal grill.

To fire-roast corn, turn on two gas burners to medium-high and place two shucked ears of corn directly over each flame. Use tongs to turn the cobs occasionally until they are marked in spots; this will take about 10 minutes. Set the ears aside until completely cool, then use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from each one. You’ll get about 3 cups roasted kernels from 4 medium-large ears of corn.


Floyd Cardoz


4 servings


Asian : Southern : Indian