Corn on the Cob Your Way

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In the South, a lot of people grow their own corn. It’s one of the first crops of early summer and one everyone looks foward to, like the first local peaches. When it’s fresh and in season, corn on the cob is just about everyone’s favorite side dish, and because it’s so easy to prepare, nobody appreciates it more than the cook. I serve corn with softened butter or Herb Butter, or sprinkled with chili powder and a squeeze of fresh lime. Depending on what else I’m cooking, I prepare corn in a variety of ways, including:

Grilled Corn

Grilling corn gives it a nice smoky flavor. The best time to put corn on the grill is when the fire is still much to hot for cooking meat, so the timing works out perfectly because the corn cools enough to handle while the main course cooks. To grill corn, soak the unshucked ears in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes to prevent the husks from charring and the corn from drying out when cooked. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill. Keep the corn on the grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning several times to cook evenly. Allow the corn to cool slightly, then remove the husks, and silks, or pull the husks back and twist them together into a “handle.”

Steamed or Boiled

Steaming and boiling corn are classic preparations–and they preserve the taste of the corn in its purest form. Place the sucked corn in a large pot of salted boiling water or in a large pot with a steamer basket, covered. Just-picked corn will take only about 1 minute to cook; 2 or 3 minutes is as long as you’ll need to cook any fresh corn. To steam, place the corn in a steamer over simmering water, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes.

Wrapped in Foil

This is the perfect way to cook corn at a campfire or in your fireplace. Remove the husks and silks, smear the corn with softened butter (or brush with melted butter), season with salt and pepper, and wrap in heavy duty foil or doubled regular foil (shiny side in). Place the wraped corn directly on the coals for 4 to 5 minutes, turning with tongs occasionally to cook evenly.

Oven-Roasted Corn

Oven-roasting gives corn some of the smoky, charred flavor you get from an outdoor grill. Soak the unshucked ears in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes. Place the ears in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the kernels are tender but still slightly crisp. When the corn is cool enough to touch, remove the husks and silks.


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