Michigan State University Executive Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski gives us details here on how to create the classic dish for St. Patrick's Day.  I did ask him where the 'Corned' part comes from in the name and he found this for us:

Corned beef is a salt-cured beef product. The term comes from the treatment of the meat with large grained rock salt, also called "corns" of salt.

So now you can dazzle your friends with this kernel of trivia.