[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

This recipe needs no lede, no cute opening to get you intrigued. Let's be real here. It's about corn, one of the most perfect, delicious things on Earth. Summer's greatest treasure. Corn needs no Lorax. It speaks for itself just fine.

Okay, so maybe you're skeptical about corn in dessert. Think about it: what vegetable is more sweet than corn? Sweet potatoes, you say? Well those are turned into pie. So why not corn? Perfectly ripe sweet corn has an unparalleled depth of flavor, more complex and heady than the darkest caramel. Even savory corn dishes are often powerfully sweet. The real question to ask is why we don't make corn desserts more often.

Not sold on the basil pairing? Think about a ripe ear of corn. What do you smell? A rich sweetness, sure, but also a profound grassy element. Now imagine your nose plunged into a bunch of basil. Once you make your way through that herbal perfume, the same grassiness awaits. These plants are made for each other. Look at your basil. Now back to your corn. Now back to your basil. This is the dessert your dessert could smell like.

Options for toppings are limited only be your imagination. Corn kernels are a given, but I'm also partial to toasty brioche croutons, silky crema, or a pinch of smoked paprika.

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Basil Sweet Corn Ice Cream »

About the author: Max Falkowitz writes Serious Eats' weekly Spice Hunting column. He's a proud native of Queens, New York, will do just about anything for a good cup of tea, and enjoys long walks down the aisles of Chinese groceries.You can follow his exotic spice- and ice cream-based ramblings on Twitter.


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