Corny bliss

By
August 2, 2007

The pickup: Fresh Oregon corn, not slated for animals or ethanol but for us hungry corn-lovers, is starting to appear in the farmers’ market, so last weekend, I loaded up.

The results: For years I’ve cooked corn using the low-maintenance but fool-proof method I learned 20 years ago: Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. Add a couple of splashes of milk and the husked corn. Leave for 10 minutes, or 20. Drain, and serve.

Grilled corn can be a meal in itself.

Recently, though, I learned how to make low-maintenance corn on the grill. You can wrap each husked ear of corn in aluminum foil, but for a more “green” approach, cook the corn in its husk. Remove the silk, and submerge the corn (in the husk) in the sink or in a pan of water for an hour. Heat the coals. When they’re ready to go, remove the corn from the water, dry it roughly, and place it on the grill. Cook for at least 30 minutes, or 45, turning occasionally to brown the husk evenly. If you leave the corn for longer while you’re cooking other things, that’s OK too.

Unlike a lot of vegetables that can be easily overcooked or undercooked, corn is pretty forgivable.

Last night we made a spicy butter to go along with the grilled corn: Finely chop two canned chipotle peppers (the kind that comes in adobo sauce). Add them, with a teaspoon or so of the sauce they come in and the juice of half a lime, to a softened cube of unsalted butter. To eat, spread corn with butter, add a sprinkle of salt and a grind of black pepper, and squeeze another wedge of lime over the top.

On a hot summer day, it’s practically enough for dinner.

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1. by Liz Crain on Aug 2, 2007 at 1:55 PM PDT

That sounds so good! I just had my first corn of the season last night (I’ve been missing out) and did as I always do -- boiled it.
I’ve never grilled corn but have had it while traveling. I agree that it’s good cooked just so till perfectly juicy as well as delicious when overcooked and slightly charred. Thanks for the how to -- esp. the chile/lime butter

2. by teambuildingthatcooks on Aug 3, 2007 at 2:46 PM PDT

Is there a consensus on corn textures:
“crispier, slightly under done” - tender, with a slight crunch, or the mush?

3. by maggie on Aug 9, 2007 at 6:57 AM PDT

Yum. I always do the boil/off/add/sit thing - but I’ve never added a splash of milk...

4. by Dayna on Aug 11, 2007 at 8:54 AM PDT

I think it’s amazing how many variations there are to preparing perfect summer corn.
But this.... sounds summer sunset delicious!!!

5. by Liz Crain on Aug 13, 2007 at 11:21 AM PDT

We grilled corn this way last night and it was delicious! A couple things I’d add -- you may want to have a bottle of water nearby to mist the corn as it grills b/c the husks caught on fire a few times. Also, we found that mixing the butter with the chiles was perfect, but the lime was best spritzed on after buttering the corn.

Thanks for the amazing recipe. Even though we had tasty burgers with, the corn was the highlight.

6. by Kim on Aug 16, 2007 at 1:56 PM PDT

teambuildingthatcooks: I try to stay away from mush -- opting toward tender with a slight crunch -- but I find the bigger factor in determining good corn is not how it’s cooked, but when it’s picked. The most recently harvested corn always tastes best.

7. by teambuildingthatcooks on Aug 17, 2007 at 5:29 AM PDT

Kim - makes sense, thanks!

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