Summertime means warm weather, outdoor activities and fresh vegetables. One of my favorite ways to cook corn is simple corn on the cob. I’m not talking about the stuff from the freezer section at the grocery. I’m talking about that delicious, juicy, and slightly sweet corn that is still in the husk with all the silks attached.
Well actually a lot. Corn comes in many different varieties. Sweet corn is the type we typically eat and it has many variations including yellow, peaches and cream, tuxedo, and summer sweet yellow just to name a few. In our region, peaches and cream is one of the more popular varieties. Each variety has been developed for some reason or another including sweetness or sugar content, drought resistance, pest resistance, and the list goes on.
Corn has an abundance of uses besides being a food source for humans. It’s used in the production of animal feeds, ethanol, and the cobs can even be used directly as fuel or converted to charcoal. In South American cultures, corn is typically ground into masa - which is a basic dough used in many staples like tortillas and tamales.
Even though corn is widely grown and consumed, it is nutritionally inferior to many other cereal grains. It has a poor protein content and lacks niacin. To be honest corn has a low or poor gluten content making it unsuitable for leavening breads but good for those with gluten issues.
I’ve grilled a lot of things in my time; from steaks and fish to peaches and avocados. I’ve heard many different suggestions on how best to grill corn but the easiest is to simply put it on the grill in the husk. No washing, shucking, or fuss. The husk will darken during cooking and some may fall off but the corn will cook inside and the silks and husk should come off easily when done. You don’t even have to soak.
There are a few things to look for when picking your ears of corn for grilling. Are the husks tight, squeaky, and green? Are the kernels of corn taut and full? Are there any worm holes? I know the ‘yuck’ factor just kicked in but just saying!
Once the corn is cooked, feel free to dress it how you like. I’m a purist and like corn with butter and salt, but a nice cilantro butter or sprinkled with some smoky paprika - this will kick up the flavor to a new level. Grilled corn also makes a nice addition to green salads or as a garnish on other foods. That being said, I’m sharing two recipes with you. One is for grilled corn and the other is for a grilled corn salad. Both recipes are courtesy of Bon Appetit. Live, Laugh, Love, and Eat Well.
Prepare a grill for medium heat. Grill corn, rotating occasionally, until husks are blackened (some will flake and fall off) and kernels are tender with some browning and charred spots, 25 to 35 minutes. Let corn cool slightly, then shuck. Serve with Butter and salt or spiced butters.
Prepare a grill for medium heat; oil grate. Whisk lime juice and hot sauce in a medium bowl and season with salt. Set aside.
Grill corn (still in husks) and chiles, turning occasionally, until corn is charred all over (husks will blacken and some of the kernels will become brown or charred in spots); 25 to 35 minutes, and chiles are blackened in spots and crisp-tender; 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to platter and let cool slightly before shucking corn.
Slather corn with butter, then cut kernels from cobs into bowl with reserved dressing. Remove seeds from chiles and chop. Add to corn along with scallions. Toss to combine; season with salt and serve.