Easy dinner recipes: 3 great corn dishes (and how to choose the best ears)

Love corn? Sometimes, there's no better way to celebrate summer than with fresh corn. Its peak season is from May to September, and its plump, sweet kernels can be used in so many ways, whether you toss them fresh into salads, steam them or puree corn to add to soups and bisques.

Here are some tips on choosing fresh corn: Try to buy corn as soon as possible after it is picked; the moment corn is picked, its natural sugars begin to convert to starch, lessening its sweetness. Look for kernels that are plump and moist with tightly spaced rows that extend all the way to the tip of the ear. Try to use the corn the same day you buy it for maximum sweetness, though corn can be refrigerated up to a day or two.

Thinking about steamed corn? How about steaming it with clams and bacon in one of our featured dishes: Just a handful of ingredients -- including corn, clams and bacon -- come together in a dish that's pure magic. Fresh corn is steamed with clams in a bacon-rich wine broth for a quick-fix dinner. The recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

RECIPES: 15 easy dinners - pasta, enchiladas, shrimp skewers, more

Or combine corn with parsnips in a simple soup that marries sweet corn with delicately sweet parsnips, fresh garlic and herbs for a wonderfully easy soup that has a creamy texture and rich flavor, despite being fairly low in calories. Serve it simply, with a dollop of buttery mascarpone and fresh chopped parsley.

If you're looking for a comforting dish that makes use of the summer produce in the markets, a corn pudding is perfect. Fresh corn kernels are baked up with diced zucchini in a savory pudding. Serve it simply, alongside a crisp salad.

For more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

STEAMED CORN WITH CLAMS AND BACON

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from "Seamus Mullen's Hero Food." Aleppo pepper can generally be found at gourmet and cooking supply stores, and is available online.

1/2 cup diced slab bacon

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

24 littleneck clams

2 ears corn, shucked and cut into 2-inch lengths

3/4 cup dry white wine

2 teaspoons pimentón

Aleppo pepper

Handful fresh basil leaves, torn

Healthy drizzle of olive oil