smashed potatoes with sweet corn relish

One of the reasons it’s been relatively quiet here is because as meaningful (okay I’m being sarcastic) as it was when a shampoo brand I ordered from five years ago sent me an email last week about their support of the Black Lives Matter movement, I’m wary of using my platform in a way that places more value on the performance of allyship than the practice of it. If you’re concerned about what my values are, I spoke about them in greater detail in last week’s newsletter. It would ring hollow to pivot away from what I love the most in June — grilled vegetables, summer salads, icy drinks, and birthday cake — for a detailed look at, say, bail funds only to pivot back two days later because I wanted to make lemon bars. But it would have been disingenuous to feign interest in berry shortcakes as usual while my head was everywhere else. So, I’ve been taking some time offline to process, learn, plan, and parent, until I could find a way to move forward in a way that feels authentic to my values and where I’m at, and to what this site has always been, a place where I hope you’ll find your new favorite thing to cook.

Black cookbooks and memoirs

I created a new reference page, too. A few people had messaged me asking for cookbook and food memoir suggestions by Black writers and so I went to my bookshelves and I pulled out several — plus a few more I don’t have or have lent out but highly recommend — and shared a little about each. This is not, of course, an exhaustive list and I’m sure I’ve missed some great ones. This is simply what I’ve read and enjoyed over the years. Perhaps you’ll find a few new favorites, too.

shock the corn in cold watershave. the kernelscorn, tomatoes, peppers, onionheat the vinegar and spicesadd the warm brineset aside for a day or monthsteamed red potatoessmashed and fryingspicy spring pea saucecaramelized onion rings

It was in flipping through a relatively new book — Vegetable Kingdom, by Bryant Terry, out in February — that I stopped short on these potatoes with corn for several reasons: it’s a gorgeous dish. I love smash-fried potatoes (much quicker than smash-roasted, ignore any recipe that tells you otherwise) potatoes. The sweet corn relish looked amazing and I’ve apparently written “pickled corn” four different times on my spiraling To Cook list and hadn’t gotten to it yet. Terry’s spin — with minced hot and sweet pepper, sliced tomatoes, and cumin seeds — is far more nuanced than I could have dreamed up and I enjoyed the story of his maternal grandmother making this traditional dish eaten throughout the South, and storing in the larder for the winter. The spicy spring pea sauce provides a delicious contrast, and I love the way cooking for his little girls is woven into his recipes. The slow-cooked onion rings (not breaded, just caramelized) are very much my thing. Does this add up to a lot of cooking steps? Yes it does. Are they worth it? Absolutely. If you make nothing else, make the corn relish because you’re going to want to put it on everything this summer, from toasts to tacos to salads. This recipe, like the entirety of the book, is real ingredient-focused vegan cooking with Afro-Asian flavors. It’s vivid and unrestrictive and it even comes with a playlist; I bet you will enjoy it as much as I am.

smashed potatoes with sweet corn relish



Six months ago: Roasted Squash and Tofu with Ginger
One year ago: Chocolate Budino
Two years ago: Garlic-Lime Steak and Noodle Salad
Three years ago: Grilled Pepper and Torn Mozzarella Panzanella
Four years ago: The Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie, Revisited
Five years ago: Crispy Frizzled Artichokes
Six years ago: Coconut Brown Butter Cookies
Seven years ago: Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies
Eight years ago: Asparagus with Almonds and Yogurt Dressing
Nine years ago: Fudge Popsicles
Ten years ago: Cabbage and Lime Salad with Roasted Peanuts, Leek Bread Pudding, Oatmeal Pancakes, and Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash
Eleven years ago: Grilled Shrimp Cocktail and Graham Crackers
Twelve years ago: S’more Pie
Thirteen years ago: Zucchini Carpaccio Salad

Smashed Potatoes with Sweet Corn Relish

Terry’s recipe calls for 1/4 cup sugar in the corn relish but I used only 1 tablespoon, as I prefer a less sweet relish. I also increased the salt from 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, due to personal tastes. I ended up making the potatoes with large red ones which are definitely more awkward but not impossible to smash and fry.

    Sweet corn relish
  • 3 large ears sweet corn, shucked
  • 12 ripe cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno
  • 2 garlic cloves, ends cut off
  • 3/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Spring green pea sauce
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 pound fresh spring peas in their pods (or about 1 to 1 1/4 cup frozen)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced, seeded, minced jalapeño
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • Smashed potatoes, onions, and assembly
  • 16 small new potatoes (a little larger than a walnut is what Terry recommends)
  • 1/2 cup peanut or a vegetable oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sweet Corn Relish, for serving
  • Spicy Spring Green Pea Sauce, for serving

Make the Sweet Corn Relish: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare a bowl with ice water and set aside. Add the corn, bring the water back to a boil, and blanche for 1 minute. Drain the corn in a colander and immediately transfer to the ice water bath for 5 minutes. Drain the corn and slice the kernels from the ears. Place the corn kernels, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic in a 1-quart jar, or divide between 2 1-pint jars, and set aside. In the same pot you used for the corn, combine the vinegar, 1/4 cup water, sugar, mustard and cumin seeds, salt, peppercorns, and turmeric and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until the liquid is hot to the touch and the sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Pour the liquid over the corn mixture and let cool. Refrigerate the relish for at least one day to develop the flavor, or up to 1 year.

Make the Spicy Spring Pea Sauce: Remove your peas from their pods. In a medium pot or saucepan, bring 1 quart water to boil over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the salt and gently pour the peas into the pot. Blanch until just tender, about 3 minutes, or up to 4 minutes if they were frozen. Drain the peas in a colander and rinse with cold water. Transfer the peas to a blender. Add 1/4 water to start, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the jalapeño, and the lemon juice and puree until smooth, adding remaining 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary (the mixture should be viscous but pour fairly easily from the blender). Pour the pureed peas into a serving bowl. Season more salt, white pepper, and lemon juice to taste.

Make the Smashed Potatoes and Caramelized Onion Rings: Fit a large pot with a steamer insert and fill with 2 inches of water. Put the potatoes and in the steamer, cover, and cook over medium heat until fork-tender, about 35 to 45 minutes, adding more water to the pot if necessary. Remove the potatoes from the steam and let cool for 5 minutes.

While the potatoes are steaming, warm 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Reduce the heat to low and add the onion slices, keeping them intact. Cook, gently stirring and flipping as needed for even cooking, until just starting to caramelize, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and set aside. Leave any extra oil behind in the pan.

On a clean work surface, gently press each potato with the palm of your hand to flatten it to about 1/2-inch-thick. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. In the same large skillet where you cooked the onion slices, add the remaining 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat. Add half the potatoes in a single layer and cook until crispy and browning, about 5 minutes. Salt the potatoes, gently flip them, and fry for 4 to 5 minutes more. Salt the second side and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.

To serve: arrange the potatoes on a serving platter, top with the onions and sweet corn relish, and season with pepper. Put the pea sauce in a medium bowl and serve it alongside the potatoes.

Ingredient section

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182 comments on smashed potatoes with sweet corn relish

  1. Emily

    Thank you for your thoughtful posts! Both here and on Instagram. I have found a few new to me writers, cooks and bookstores thanks to you. Even being ‘all about the food’ you’ve done a great job of highlighting these writers and I can’t wait to buy their books.

  2. Hall

    Hi, this sounds great! Where does the garlic get in the relish? I was interested in why the ends of the garlic were cut off, but don’t find them in the instructions. I’m guessing they’re the missing word in this sentence:

    “Place the corn kernels, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and in a 1-quart jar, or divide between 2 1-pint jars, and set aside.”

  3. AwesomeRosenGilMom

    The cupboard is bare of corn and potatoes, at least until the next market delivery. How do you think Spicy Spring Pea Sauce would go over on pasta, perhaps? Hot or cold ?

    1. randi baldwin

      I appreciated your response to Connie. I wish she had been able to respond in kind. Thoughtful dialogue between different world views would be helpful in these times. I live in Seattle several blocks from CHAZ/CHOP and because I am in a high risk group am not able to participate in the marches. I do visit CHAZ/CHOP early in the morning several times a week where I am able to witness folks peacefully discussing opposing views and learning from one another.
      Making your smashed potatoes, corn relish, pea sauce for tomorrow. Should the potatoes be served hot, warm or room temperature? Thank you for your spirit–not to mention your wonderful cooking ideas.

  4. Toni

    I can’t stop thinking about new potatoes and spring peas now but having to use not locally fresh corn and tomatoes. And then I’m thinking fresh corn and tomatoes in August but not fresh peas or potatoes. Win win all summer long! And probably into winter. This looks amazing

  5. Kelly

    Thank you for your recommendations! You’ve never steered me wrong in the past. I ordered Benjamina’s New Way To Cake and this Vegetable Kingdom book already. I’ve found lately that I prefer European cake recipes that are less sweet and non-American savory dishes that are friendlier to the environment as there is typically less dependence on meat and dairy. Shame on me for not actively seeking out these wonderful authors and new resources in past. Thanks Deb!

    1. Ali

      I’ve had good success with subbing apple cider vinegar or plain white vinegar. Not so much wine – the flavor profiles are too distinct.

      1. Kim

        First and most importantly, thank you for your outspoken support of BPOC. That looks delicious and I was wondering what jars you are using for the corn relish. I love the size!

  6. Alejandra

    Long time reader, first time poster. I really appreciate your thoughtful approach Deb, especially this: “I’m wary of using my platform in a way that places more value on the performance of allyship than the practice of it… So, I’ve been taking some time offline to process, learn, plan, and parent.” Thanks.

  7. Sam

    Being greedy and having 2 comments. Is there any value to steaming the Spuds vs boiling which would take way less time.

    1. deb

      I don’t find that boiling is much faster, but I do think you could do either. One thing I’ve noticed, tbh, is that boiled potatoes tend to stay more moist so they sometimes hold together better when semi-smashed.

  8. Shelley

    This is such a lovely way to connect the work you do with the effort to eradicate structural racism. In food, music, culture, everywhere–we have too often disappeared the contributions of Black Americans. Thank you Deb.

    1. Rhea Quiñones

      I second this comment. I value SK very much and am grateful that you are using the platform to celebrate Black talent. We should do it everywhere, and my go to food site is certainly the right place for a recognition of Black Lives Matter. Good use of your privilege, Deb. Thank you.

  9. Frances

    This book is on its way to me now, thanks to your Instagram post! I realized that I have almost everything needed for this recipe except fresh corn. Do you think it would be ok with frozen?

  10. Asia Brumwell

    I’m a longtime lurker, but I don’t think I’ve ever posted before. I just wanted to say thank you SO much for the list of Black cookbooks and Black-owned bookstores. It’s really lovely to see you use your platform to elevate Black work and businesses rather than just doing a performative, bland ‘Racism is Bad’ post. I’ve loved your blog for years, and I love it even more now.

  11. MR in NJ

    Thanks for all the great info.

    In the intriguing list of black-person-owned bookstores I had to click on the link to the astonishingly named Third Eye Bag. The website reveals that the URL is Third Eye BAG–standing for Third Eye Books, Accessories & Gifts LLC. Fix in list?

  12. recipe looks like keeper! any other suggestions for an alternate for the spicy spring pea sauce that would pair well with the recipe? allergy to peas!

  13. Ju

    Another great BIPoC cook book author to add to your list is Joy the Baker. Her books are flawless and her recipes never fail!

  14. JV

    Thank you for the wonderful cookbook suggestions–food brings us together. Seconding Black Girl Baking being excellent–off to make the delicious blueberry biscuits!
    Can’t wait to try this dish if we cook out this weekend!

    1. Peta Richkus

      Luckily, all the veggies called for are available in MD – well, last week WAS the end of the fresh PEAS… Made as written except for a vinegar substitution. The combination of flavors together tasted even better than I imagined! I might like a pea-garlic sauce next time. Thanks a bunch!

  15. First of all, I just love you and your very thoughtful approach to every thing you do. Thank you for that…. a quick question about the peas….can you pls clarify the instructions? It’s a 1/4 cup of water first with the peas in the blender and then more by the tbsp as needed? This looks fabulous and can’t wait to enjoy it. I adore corn relish!

    1. deb

      Yes. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup but I found it to be too much for my peas, so I’m suggesting you add half and then the rest 1T at a time if needed.

  16. Robbin

    Thanks for sharing the list of black-authored cookbooks and food-related books. I reviewed New World Sourdough a couple of months ago (librarian job perk) and it is a fabulous bread book. The book is a celebration of Bryan Ford’s Honduran heritage by way of bread. The complex art of sourdough is broken down in a way that is straightfoward and easy-to-understand, without sacrificing the complexity of the process. Highly recommend it.

  17. Connie

    Donating to those awful organizations to keep thugs on the streets? I wish you are kidding but you’re not. Goodbye!

    1. deb

      I have been publishing on the internet for a *very long time* — 17 years, even — and part of the way I stay sane and happy is by not arguing with people looking for an argument. However, I’m about to briefly break that rule, but not to argue, just to draw a line, because I’d also draw a line if anyone use the n-word or anything other word derogatory to a specific group of people. That’s what thug is — racially-charged, intended to be derogatory towards Black people, usually men. Maybe it’s not something you knew or considered the implications of (it’s not just you!); this might explain it better. You’ve been commenting here for a long time and until this day, they’d all been friendly and helpful contributions so I hope that’s all it was.

      Bail funds exist because when bails are (often intentionally) set at prices people cannot afford to pay, people who have not been not been convicted of a crime waiting in jail for years or month before going to trial. To me, this feels morally, egregiously wrong. Buying your way out of jail shouldn’t exist, and certainly shouldn’t be a privilege allotted to people with deeper pockets. One should not be punished doubly (for whatever they’ve been charged for plus also being poor) if they cannot. And what if the charges are dropped after a trial? Will they ever get those months or years in pre-trial jail back? Not a chance. Don’t want to give to bail funds? Don’t give to bail funds. I’m simply telling you where I’m at, what my values are, and here, a bit more of the why behind it, since it’s something you in particular took issue with.

      1. Elena K


        Excellent response to a hateful comment. I don’t think I could have written something that nice. Thank you for using your platform for good!

      2. Perfectly stated. Thank you. And for anyone looking for a good read…How to be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi is a must-read. Historical and present-day perspective. Opened my eyes to SO many things.

      3. Sarah

        Thanks, Deb. Count me as another long-time fan who felt it important to chime in. I’ve been struggling with how to address these issues at work myself, and I wanted to applaud both the thoughtfulness of your original post and the graceful response you made here. Also, this recipe looks fantastic; I may have to go buy this book!

      4. Sarah

        Thank you for being you Deb. I think some readers conveniently forget that they are using a free service when they consult your website. You can use your platform in any way you see fit, especially to acknowledge the problems with racism in our country.

        I already messaged you on instagram, but I will say it again here. I appreciate how you always give credit to sources, both individuals and cultures, and I have even seen you update the names of recipes to better reflect feedback from commenters with cultural ties to the foods you cook. You have never given off a “cool girl” vibe, never positioned yourself against bloggers/chefs of other races, unlike a certain rice-hating, brownface wearing, cookbook title stealing chef who claims ownership of easy-does-it homecooking. You were there first and I appreciate you.

    1. Rebecca

      Connie, troll away on another platform. This is for foodies, families and Good People who just want to cook good food. Your heartlessness is grotesque. I’m sorry you’re such an ugly person. Thank you Deb, for yet another interesting, fun and delicious post.

  18. Holly Nelson

    Thanks for all of it Deb. Your approach to food never ceases to amaze me, so I’ve learned not to be surprised by what you do. So no surprise that you can both communicate your concern about the bandwagon-jumping in a coherent way, and then dig through your own resources to share a wealth of information and ideas that can allow us to get a deeper understanding of food and culture. So Smitten Kitchen! THX!

  19. M-C

    Ok, ok! We’ll try the corn relish. But I notice the wonderful Edna Lewis in your list. You are missing a gem: The Gift of Southern Cooking by her with Scott Peacock. Some very sweet and loving stories about her life, mixed with some reflexions about the contrast and commonalities of growing up in the South as different colors. More to the point, every recipe in there has been both the best and the simplest I have ever had. Check it out

  20. Lisa

    Dismayed to see some of the responses here (what are some folks thinking?!?) so I wanted to pipe up to say thank you for your continual thoughtfulness & generosity of heart and spirit. What you offer is so genuine and substantive. Thanks for all that you do!

  21. I agree we read you for good. But it’s also of critical importance that we who are white do NOT push the snooze button on social reform. Please find a way to do both since you are an important influencer!

  22. Megan

    Roughly how many cups of corn kernels came from the three ears? I’d love to make the relish but sweet corn isn’t ready in my area yet and I was thinking defrosted and blanched frozen corn kernels might be a viable substitute. Thanks!

  23. Lynn

    I love the cookbook reference you’ve published. I recently preordered Living Lively by Haile Thomas which is a plant based recipe book by a wonderful young activist that should be considered for a place on your list also. Thanks for sharing

  24. Storey Hieronymus Hauck

    Don’t forget, food is and always has been one powerful way to bring people together. We need that, too!

  25. Liz

    For vegetarians/vegans– Sweet Potato Soul by Jenne Claiborne has some great recipes. The Africa Cookbook by Jessica B. Harris (you have two of her other books on the list) and The Peppers, Cracklings, and Knots of Wool Cookbook by Diane M. Spivey are both interesting to read through though I admittedly haven’t cooked much from them.

  26. Olivia

    Hi Deb. I have followed you for many years now- and probably make at least one of your recipes a week- and they end up being mine and my husband’s favorite. I have never before taken the time to comment on any food blog- ever. I regularly read a dozen favorite food blogs every week as my relaxation and “me time”. So, commenting today on your post feels like a big first step for me. I am doing this because I absolutely applaud your thoughtful response to everything going on in our world right now. I come to food blogs as an escape and I can appreciate when you say that cooking is a way for you to get away from things as well. The way you articulate your thoughts is refreshing and genuine. So, thank you!

    Also, I plan on making this recipe this week and my husband is excited to do the pickling of the corn! Pickling is his gateway into cooking and this seems like a perfect new recipe to try- so thanks for sharing!

  27. Kathy Schniedwind

    When I made the vinegar mixture and poured it into the jar over my corn mixture the liquid did not cover everything in the jar. Is that a problem? Should I make more liquid? Or invert the jar every so often? What should I do?

  28. Joycelyn

    Hi Deb
    I tried to print your recipe as I want to make this but your print option includes your photos too. I’m wondering if there’s another print option I might be missing as being a senior on a fixed income, I simply cannot afford to use up my coloured ink so fast.
    Thank you

    1. Heidi Pohle

      Instead of hitting the print button, just copy and paste the text into a Word document, or a notepage. Even an email to your self. They you can print it out using none of your expensive color ink.

  29. Beth

    Are you supposed to strain the mustard seed/peppercorn liquid into the jar? I just poured it in – everything and had a moment of panic that it was supposed to be strained … so you aren’t serving relish with big peppercorns and mustard seeds.

  30. JenD

    So I followed the recipe as written and Totally forgot that Deb used less sugar when she made it. It’s super sweet But sitting in the fridge. Any ideas how to counter the sweetness?

    1. Mel

      Not sure if you want to do this, but I would make the sweet corn relish again without the sugar. Combine the first batch with the second batch. I know this means having double the quantity of relish, but if it’s as versatile as Deb said, you’ll finish it in no time.

      Also, taste it and see if you can add a little more salt to counter the sweetness. It should help a bit.

  31. Jackie

    So glad to see you Michael Twitty and “The Cooking Gene” on your list! He brings such a unique and valuable perspective to food and what it means; culturally, historically and politically.

    Thank you for using your platform and bringing all these great authors to our attention!

  32. Jude Brown

    Deb, thank you for the recommendations (I will be adding the books to my shelf!) . I respect your thoughtful contributions …in ALL that you offer. Cooking and sewing go hand in hand for me too, and they both give me great comfort and balance. I’ll be rustling up this relish real soon! Thank you!

    As always, one of your loyal followers…

  33. sonja

    Would it be bizarre to make the relish with Apple Cider Vinegar? I have industrial quantities of it and am looking for ways to use it up.

  34. Maro

    Thank you. Thank you for introspection, for not making a knee-jerk post of support and moving on. Thank you for uplifting Black voices while still doing what you do, by creating a new space on your platform to showcase those voices. Thank you for talking to your children. <3

  35. Monica S

    What does “fresh spring peas in their pods” mean? Sugar snap peas? It sounds like you need a pea with an edible pod so just want to clarify. Sugar snap season is already over here so all I can get right now are English peas but I don’t know if I’d want to eat the pods, even if pureed — but I’ll do it if you tell me it will taste okay, Deb!

  36. Sarah

    Have loved your site, recipes, and cookbooks for over 10 years, Deb. Never have I appreciated you more than now, however. Thank you for speaking truth to what has been on your mind and heart. Your words, “given the devastating, enraging events of the last week, it was neither the time to talk about shortcakes nor were they near my thoughts” are medicine in this time and I hope you will keep them coming. I also hope you will continue to use your platform to practice your allyship. As a white mom, wife, racial equity coach, teacher, and community member I am deeply grateful when I see other white women leveraging their privilege and power to interrupt the violent silence that is so often the norm. Not only does it create change but it models for me, and other white women how to do the work. So keep on, Deb! For in the words of Audre Lorde, “I have come to believe, over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal, and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”

  37. Colleen ME!

    Wow! I truly appreciate your statement and honesty.
    I’m right there myself; “Be” and stop talking.
    Have a Beau day.

  38. Deb – I think somehow “Grandbaby Cakes” was overlooked in your page listing the cookbooks. It’s in the image and your IG, but no mention of it on the SK page. Only noticed because I’m planning on buying it for a friend this week and wanted to read your thoughts on it. NBD, buying it anyway!

    1. deb

      You are totally right — d’oh. Will add. I was just watching a review of her yellow layer cake on the Pancake Princess Instagram stories last night and now I neeeeed it.

  39. Deb

    Thank you for addressing the topic with so much sensitivity. I’ve been pleased to see 99% of the accounts I follow have posted and shared to increase awareness.

  40. Ashley

    Your note about the corn relish indicates it keeps for one year – is this simply refrigerated or are you suggesting we properly can this and in a pantry it could last unopened for 1 year? The former seems remarkable but with no canning note I’m assuming that I’ve read it correctly. Thanks!

  41. CM

    Deb, I appreciate the thoughtful way you handled this. I admit I did look here to see what you would say and felt disappointed when there was nothing, but I agree with what you said here — it feels disingenuous to spend one post talking about social issues and then go back to corn. I’m really glad to see you talking openly about this discomfort and using your platform to amplify Black voices and food.

  42. Elena K

    I made the relish tonight. The vinegar mixture doesn’t cover it to the top. Is that okay? In your photos it looks like it’s all covered.

  43. Julie

    I made this as you suggested and loved it! But I do have some comments/questions/modifications for next time.

    1) Are you expected to eat the peppercorns? I crunched on one and it was very unpleasant. I then rooted around my plate to remove the rest. I might leave them out next time to avoid this issue (can I just use ground pepper…?).
    2) I thought I got potatoes that were the right size (~ a quarter’s diameter), but they were soft in 15 minutes (not 35-45), and I easily fit them all in a large skillet in one batch with no crowding. I also just did ONE onion (two felt like way too much) and the potato-to-onion ratio was still too small. I think next time I’ll do larger ones like you did (or more small ones).
    3) I ended up with 4 cups (actually a little extra that didn’t fit in my two pint jars) of the corn relish. On this amount of potatoes (and onions) I only used about 1 cup and that felt extravagant. Is this recipe expected to use ALL the corn relish? Thanks for the suggestions of what else to do with it, Deb!

    Thanks also for the info about the book (I have purchased it!) and the author. And thanks for all that you give of yourself to us, your readers/fans. I’m grateful for your thoughts on food and on what so many of us white folks are struggling with right now (a struggle we will hopefully not put down when we tire of it).

    1. deb

      1. Yes but if you find them unpleasant, you can I suppose strain them out of the brine mixture before adding to the corn.
      2. Don’t do larger ones; way more pesky, just more small ones.
      3. Whoops — no. I’d say just use it to taste, or as you did. We still have some left and added it to vegetable tacos last night, where it was absolutely perfect.

  44. Juliet

    This is the single best dish I have ever made. Seriously. I could eat this for every meal.

    A few notes:
    I followed the relish recipe exactly and ended up with ~7 cups. Maybe I had giant ears of corn? I had to double the brine to cover all the vegetables. I’m looking forward to using all this relish on EVERYTHING FOREVER AMEN.

    Since I ended up with so much relish, I also doubled the pea purée. It needed a bit more salt, in my opinion, but not much. I used frozen peas and I don’t think it made a difference vs. fresh.

    I think, if you’re not vegan, this would also be amazing with a fried or poached egg, or with skirt steak, or bacon, or a dollop of sour cream. I’d maybe fry the bacon before the onions, then caramelize the onions in the bacon grease? Oooh that would probably be amazing.

    Make this now, is what I’m trying to say.

  45. Rachel

    This was delicious and very satiating! Made nearly as written, but with leftover boiled potatoes and reduced sugar in the relish to 1T. Will definitely make again.

  46. Leah

    Another longtime lurker just piping in to thank you for such a thoughtful, and genuine post. Other blogs have been irritatingly disingenuous and, like you said, performative, by cramming in “relative” content all at once. At the pace those stories have been going up, makes me wonder how many were tabled originally, and trotted out these past few weeks.

    Also just thanking you for years of fabulous, fabulous recipes.

    1. Leah

      Sorry, one more thing, and I know this is about a different recipe than is posted but OMFG that schmaltzy cabbage was heavenly. Heavenly!! My chicken didn’t even turn out that great, but who cares, because the cabbage!

  47. Jennifer

    Dear Deb,

    1. This looks delicious. I’m constructing a shopping list now (for the next … 10 or so days, yikes!) and these components are going on. (X2: we have two teenagers/young adults in the house, so no more cute little serving plates!)
    2. Thank you so much for having something thoughtful to say about current events, and
    3. I’m so impressed with your response to the naysayer(s), and
    4. Your germane use of your platform to help promote a little bit of equity is really awesome. And manages not to be a 1-of.

    Thank you! I’m even more of a fangirl now!

  48. Sasha

    Thank you for the reference page and highlighting black chefs! I just got a bunch of pea shoots in my new CSA box (since I am trying to eat more local and less meat as a result of this pandemic), and the red cabbage salad with peashoots and peanuts in Terry’s book sounded great. I actually used your miso tahini dressing on it, and I highly recommend it if you are looking for another slaw recipe! I want to try his version of miso dressing with tofu once I buy some.

  49. Katherine

    This was a lot of steps but completely worth it. Stirred left over relish into quinoa to make a delicious side salad for later in the week.

  50. Susan R

    We LOVED chowing down on this wonderful combo of goodies. Now, a couple of days after the fact, I am trying not to sneak spoonfuls of the relish more than four or five times a day. (And btw I find those pickled peppercorns to be lovely little bursts of gentle heat.) I think next time I’ll serve the relish separately, so we can repeat-sample each of the four glorious components on its own, cover every possible combination of two or three components, and, of course, go for quite a few grand slams, too.

  51. Jan Morrison

    Thank you for your continued sanity and compassion.
    A cookbook that is hard to find, but worth the hunt, is Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook.

  52. Amelia Natoli

    I want ALL of those books! So far I’ve only read the Cooking Gene, and highly recommend it. Thanks for the meaningful, thought-provoking post.

  53. ch

    In your June 15 newsletter, the link to “Did Instagram ruin the chocolate chip cookie?” doesn’t work – sends us instead to the second link “​A Juneteenth…”

    Thank you!

  54. merryf

    We made this the other night while waiting for our cookbook to arrive. This was so delicious! For the first time I use a recipe I always follow it exactly, and followed Deb’s head-note about less sugar and it was perfect. We are pretty confident in the kitchen, but in the middle of making this we looked at each other and said, “boy this is not for beginners.” It took a lot of prep. Like others here we ended up with double the amount of relish we needed for the actual dish, so we have half still left in the fridge. I think it will be great with tonight’s grilled salmon. We used very small potatoes and they were done fast — and they were super-easy to smash with the bottom of a wide glass. And there was way too much onions. I think next time I might use one red onion instead of two white onions. Otherwise, we snarfed it up and it’s going into the “make this again” file. Thank you for featuring this recipe from this cookbook and bringing new voices to SK!

  55. Laura G

    Thank you for your thoughtful post and suggestions for cookbooks by African American authors.

    A cookbook that’s not on your list that I *highly* recommend is ‘The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook,’ by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day. Everything I’ve made from the cookbook has turned out excellently, and there are recipes for a great assortment of cakes, pies, cookies, candies, and savory baked goods.

    And, if you are ever in Savannah, GA, a pilgrimage to the Back in the Day Bakery is required. My mouth waters for a biscuit that I ate there in 2017 because it was perfect in every way.

  56. Lisa

    What about turning the page over to Black bakers/chefs every friday for a while? That boosts voices but is more than performative.

  57. Patricia Kaiser

    I made this for dinner tonight (made the sweet corn relish last night to marinate overnight in the refrigerator) and it was a huge hit!! OMG, so darn good! I got some baby creamer potatoes from Costco which were the perfect size for the potatoes. Love all of the bright Spring colors ~ it was like a party on the plate! I also grilled some spot prawns to go alongside. I made a mess on the stovetop caramelizing the onions and the recipe uses up a lot of pans (I used two to do the onions), but the finished dish was worth every minute spent! Yum 100%!

  58. Christine

    Thank you for sharing a recipe from Vegetable Kingdom and for using Terry’s work as a portal for discussing injustice, particularly since Terry’s work as a cookbook author has explored the vast range of the African diaspora while celebrating a culinary culture that is complex and richly engaged with the different regions of the world. Based on my experience of working through the cookbook’s recipes over the past few months, I’d have to describe it as a new favorite. His descriptions of cooking for his daughters and of sharing food with family and friends evoked happy memories of learning to cook with my parents. I generally avoid recipes that require multiple steps and dirty lots of pots, but the lockdown inspired me to overcome my aversion and…wow!!!…the resulting flavors and textures were consistently worth it. Many recipes are composed of components–like sauces or seasonings–that can be prepared in advance of cooking the final dish, thus making the cooking process easier to fit into a time-crunched evening. Extra steps, such as roasting vegetables prior to adding them to a stew, are purposeful and contribute to exceptionally flavorful dishes. One of my favorite parts about reading cookbooks–other than making the recipes; )–is thinking about the reasoning and effect of different methods of organizing the recipes into sections. Appropriately for its name, Vegetable Kingdom groups recipes based on the classification of the vegetable that provides the “main” ingredient of the dish. Little details like this highlight the significance of the plants that provide the basis for the food and, when added to the beautiful photography, thoughtful recipe headnotes that fit the food into the author’s life and the accompanying playlists, they yield a cookbook that has been a profound joy to cook and eat from. Sorry for the lengthy and effusive post! I’m just pleased to read your response to Terry’s work and your acknowledgement of the impact of Black cookbook authors and culinary writers on your life and work.

  59. Lea

    Made this last weekend with a porterhouse steak for Father’s Day. Our 4 y.o. is still experiencing with “spicy” so I skipped all the jalapenos. I’m so glad there’s plenty of relish left, I’ll be adding it to just about everything. It won’t last a year for sure!

  60. Emily T

    From my husband at home eating leftovers

    I REALLY like this onion potato dish!

    We just roasted fingerling potatoes in the oven and I used red bell pepper instead of green. Otherwise no changes. It was delicious!

    Thank you

  61. Katie

    Made this and it was so delicious I immediately ordered the Vegetable Kingdom cook book. There were a lot of steps but it was worth the time, and I am still eating the left over corn relish by the spoonful. Thank you for sharing!

  62. Wendy

    I made this, minus the pea sauce (hubby didn’t know I was going to use them the next day and ate all the peas!).

    It was delicious. Cooked as directed, less sugar. The relish is outstanding and having leftovers is a huge bonus. Try it on top of avocado toast, you will die and go to heaven. I will be making the relish again for sure.

  63. Lisa

    I just jarred the corn relish for the night to pickle and cannot wait to try the finished dish. I bought Vegetable Kingdom, but decided to take your advice and reduce the sugar, and it is delicious. I did note, however, the recipe as written is made for canning so I suppose the sugar amount is meant to create the right balance. Vegetable Kingdom is a gorgeous cookbook. I tried the roasted zucchini with collard-peanut pesto — oh my gosh, it’s the best thing I’ve made in a long time. I can’t wait to continue cooking my way through this book.

  64. Sarah L

    This was the most interesting thing I’ve cooked in a while. Thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the sweetcorn relish. Thank you, Deb!

  65. HH

    Though I was really excited for this dish, it didn’t turn out as special as I’d hoped. The relish IS great. I had to use yellow mustard seeds, I’d cut back to 1/2-3/4 tbsp next time as the were a bit overpowering. The brine perfectly covered the veggies, didn’t need to double. But the other components were only fine, not awesome, even when assembled into the final dish. In particular, the pea sauce was really bland. I used frozen peas, maybe it would have more flavor with market-fresh ones. Either way, I’d add way more jalapeno or herbs like mint or (most likely) skip it entirely next time.

  66. Annie

    Wow, the description of this sounds kind of meh, but this is actually very good, especially the corn relish.

    I made this for 4th of July camping, and it turned out to be a very easy thing for camping because you can do all the prep work ahead of time (sauce, relish, par-boil potoates). I highly recommend.

    Some notes: didn’t have enough leftover fresh corn so I used some frozen and it tasted fine. I only had a habanero so I used that instead of the jalepeno, and didn’t add any to the mint sauce, but I did however, add mint to the pea sauce.

  67. Heidi

    Because I love all things spicy, I used all jalapeños instead of a mix of bell and chili peppers in this relish. Very tasty in chopped salad!

  68. Holland

    For me this was a ‘miss.’ The cumin and turmeric, which I normally love, overpowered the dish and felt like a mismatch in the corn relish. I have loved every recipe I have tried from Smitten Kitchen, website and cookbooks, but this one I did not enjoy at all. I want to try the basic plan again (corn relish over the potatoes) but with a different corn relish.

    I realize that it is about my personal taste as it seems everyone else loves this one.

  69. Mekenzie

    I have NEVER NOT had a jar of this sweet corn relish on hand in my fridge ever since first making this recipe. Make the entire recipe as written when you can – it’s scrumptious and worth it – BUT THIS RELISH! I want it on everything. On eggs, toast, as a bright, savory side dish… it’s applications are infinite and it is summer food at its best. I just made a double batch of the relish for the fourth time now. I’m not joking. Run, don’t walk.

    1. Mekenzie

      Also – for best results, I recommend at least 2 or 3 days in the fridge for the flavor to really develop, not just 1.

      1. Maria

        I often find recipes for pickled vegetables to be too sweet at first. But as Joshua McFadden explains in “Six Seasons” (and what I found to be true), the sweetness balances out the longer the relish sits in the fridge. So I might have to make two batches, one for eating right away and one for a month from now (or longer).

  70. Ashley O’Keefe

    Delish! Having made this relish now twice in a week – pro tip…. Put the corn into your quart jar either in layers with the other veggies, or in a couple of additions, mixing after each one, so that you can shake it up before the jar is full. Otherwise you end up with all the corn on top and it’s a bit hard to mix it all up because the proportions are just right (thanks Deb!) for exactly the container.

  71. Shane Catalano

    Such a fun combination of parts! I marinated the corn relish for a week before using and used double the amount of garlic–might choose to use more next time along with some garlic in the pea sauce–we used a whole, seeded/deveined jalapeño in it too. The lesser amount of sugar is ideal. The potatoes are amazing and the combination phenomenal. Thank you once again, Deb!

  72. Samantha Butler

    Thanks to this post, I found “Afro-Vegan” by Bryant Terry, which I LOVE. We are so not vegans – but the recipes are just delicious, so well balanced and flavorful. THANK YOU (and Bryant Terry, of course).

  73. Andrea

    I also bought Terry´s book and this recipe was one of the first that jumped out to me to make. It is really very good, but I wish I had also reduced the sugar in the pickled corn relish a bit. I will make a note in Terry´s book for the next time I make it.

  74. Joanna

    Help! I just made this, divided it between two jars because I did not have a quart sized jar. However the liquid does not come close to covering the vegetables. Is it supposed to? It looks like it based on your pictures, but maybe that’s just after it settles?

  75. Maggie

    I made this last night. I followed the recipe exactly and normally I would have roasted the smashed potatoes but I figured I would try frying them as per the recipe. It was a bit of a disaster. I used the smaller yellow potatoes and they fell apart in the pan resulting in a mess of potato pieces. way too much oil for both the potatoes and the onions. I blotted the extra oil off and honestly even w/ my mess of potatoes this was delicious! The corn relish is amazing! next time I will just roast the potatoes and use a lot less oil for the onions.

  76. clayton richard

    I made this last night – fabulous. We both loved it. Actually, I began making this 6 days ago, when I made the relish. I didn’t intend to wait 6 days to finish the recipe, but life got in the way.

    I made notes on my copy about one thing I will change – the garlic needs to be sliced thin. We love lots of garlic, but it doesn’t need to be a whole clove that you bite into. And one thing to find a solution to – the whole peppercorns. I’d rather not have to find and remove before serving. I like them in the relish, but not when I’m eating it. I might try the small herb bags I use for homemade stock.

    I definitely will let the relish “develop” for several days, as we did this time.

    I (mistakenly) used an entire large jalapeno in the pea sauce. My initial reaction was WOW – this will set you free!! But a couple hours later when we served it, it was fine.

    Thanks Deb for another wonderful meal.


    P.S. What did others use as a side dish, if any?

  77. Lisa

    Other posters have asked about subbing cider vinegar, but I just realized I only have about 1/2 cup of each cider and rice vinegar. Would combining them be awful? Or can I make up the extra 1/4 c of rice vinegar with something else?

      1. Jenny K.

        I combined cider & rice vinegar, and it was DELICIOUS. I have historically not been a relish fan, and those days are now gone. Thanks for the share, and for your work and your words.

  78. Maria Conde

    Made this sans green bean sauce. The whole peppercorn was a bit much for me but I thought the whole dish was fantastic. Loved the corn relish so much I’m going to make extra and store it. I’ve also been roasting and then frying potatoes (as recently as last night lol) – the method you describe is better and faster, it’s true. Amazing and will make again!!

    1. Maria Conde

      Returning to say that I bought the book by Bryant Terry after seeing this recipe on here, and I love it thus far! Can’t believe I hadn’t encountered him before. Thanks again!

  79. Ooh, I love that you reduced the sugar and increased the salt. That’s probably what I would do, too. I think I’ll also double the garlic. It sounds like such a delicious meal, can’t wait to try!

  80. Charli

    This was amazing. My husband and 18 month old went crazy for this with the addition of some veggie sausages. And I’ve been remaking the relish because it is just the best…on potatoes, on salads, on crackers. YUM.

  81. Kimberly

    I made this last night to take advantage of late summer tomatoes and corn, and it was absolutely delicious. Bright and summery, and also very satisfying. Perfect for late summer, early fall.

    A few notes, like others, I came out with 6 cups of relish and not enough brine to cover the veggies. Easy fix, I just doubled the brine.

    I only let the relish sit for a day, and it was already delicious, but the peppercorns and garlic were still too strong. When I make the relish again for next day consumption, I’ll tie up the peppercorns in a bit of cheesecloth and I’ll cut the garlic into smaller chunks.

    My farmer’s market fingerlings were small and only needed to steam 15 minutes.

    And lastly, I took a chance and didn’t make the pea sauce. This recipe is pretty involved, so I was looking for a way to make it a bit more streamlined. Luckily, I didn’t miss it, except for the spiciness it might have added. My husband likes heat, so he added some tabasco. 100% will make again!

  82. Amy

    Some time ago, you published an Indian recipe that you had made and mentioned that you had taken inspiration from a number of videos by Indian and Indian-American cooks on Youtube in your lead-in. I commented on your recipe and gently suggested that those cooks might appreciate being linked and attributed and you replied that your recipe was an amalgamation of many recipes and linked 1-2 videos in the comments section, but did not update the header. Respectfully, I want you to look back at that exchange and consider if what you said was both true, and also appropriative? You enjoy an enormous following and I think it would have made the world to some of those cooks to be linked on your website. Especially since the recipe was from another culture, where presumably you did not have a base recipe to start with, I think it would have been most appropriate to link and note that your recipe was in fact your own (adapted). I truly appreciate this time of difficult self-reflection during the Black Lives Matter movement and hope that you might consider the incredible outreach you have as a white female cookbook author.

  83. Georgina May Schofield

    Looks fab and am making it right now! Is there a missing ingredient in the spring pea sauce? ‘Add 1/4 to start water….? Thanks for any suggestions

  84. Heather

    Apparently not all mustard seeds are the same? I made a double batch of the corn relish last night and today it’s sadly, inedibly bitter. I tasted every component individually and it’s the mustard seeds killing the vibe. Apparently there are a few types of mustard seed according to the Internet? I purchased mine at the Indian supermarket.

    So I dumped a bunch more sugar in one jar to see if that helps. Maybe it will mellow over time? Any other suggestions to save it? Imagine my grief right now, lol. Longtime reader, love literally every other recipe, have cooked most of both the cookbooks. Xoxo

  85. Cordula

    Hi, I was just looking at your recipes (new to the site, after a friend recommended your chocolate cake- which I’ve made and we love) and found this.
    I live in Germany and you really only get fresh corn here at the end of summer. Do you think I could use canned corn (is that a sin?!)? But then I won’t have the water that I used for boiling the corn to pour it over the corn mixture… any recommendations? The recipe looks so great and I’m desperate for new things to try.
    Thank you!
    Greetings from Berlin!

    1. deb

      I think it’s worth trying with canned. Don’t need to cook it, just try rinsing it really well. I don’t think the water for boiling is that essential, just the vinegar mixture for the relish. Good luck!

  86. Rachel

    I normally am rapturous over 99% of the recipes here, but this one was not a hit with my family- it felt like the flavors never really melded together in a way that was harmonious… it seemed like an awful lot of work for an end result that didn’t quite gel— seemed like there was too much going on in this dish. The corn relish by itself would be great with something simpler- maybe not pea purée plus potatoes plus caramelized onions.

    1. sandy

      Ditto. I’m probably in the minority but did not like the corn relish at all. It was vinegary, sweet, and the turmeric and mustard did not do it for me. SK recipes are usually a hit but this one was a hard miss.

  87. Nancy Eckert

    Good morning, Deb,

    Your corn relish intrigues me as I just canned some the other day. I’m trying to find “heirloom” recipes that I can reach for every summer when the gardens are producing more than we can consume. I have a quick question though. In the recipe, you call for raw sugar and then tell me to “see Note”. Like a good girl, I went to “see Note” and couldn’t find it. What have I missed?

    1. deb

      The Note is right above the recipe:

      Terry’s recipe calls for 1/4 cup sugar in the corn relish but I used only 1 tablespoon, as I prefer a less sweet relish. I also increased the salt from 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, due to personal tastes.

  88. Alison

    This was delicious! I didn’t feel like the onions added all that much though, so I think I’d skip them next time to make it a little quicker/easier. Loooove the corn relish, and cooking the potatoes that way was great.

  89. Heather

    I made this and really enjoyed all the strong flavors. I agree that it makes more relish than you need for this amount of potatoes and onions, but that’s okay. I also thought that it would be just as good as with boiled new potatoes (as a kind of potato salad) which would save you the step of frying then potatoes.

  90. Lily

    Just popping in to say if you want to make this in the dead of winter when corn is not exactly great, it works well with a can of corn too! Just don’t add any sweetener to the pickling mixture.