Sunday, June 1, 2008

Welcome, blessed warm months

I am almost embarrassed to post this "recipe," for it is not a recipe at all. But then I think of Rachael Ray -- and how many of her "recipes" aren't recipes at all -- and then I think about how she has created a media empire for herself based on these "recipes," and then I start to believe that the "recipe" in this post is worth publishing, after all.

Grilled corn on the cob. Happy June!

Though this is more of a method than a recipe, this deliciously simple corn has become a favorite among my family and friends. Rumor has it my uncle-in-law in Wyoming even craves it. So I feel it is my duty to share this yummy corn with you all to mark the happy occasion of the beginning of summer.

The trick with this recipe is not to skimp. Don't cut back on the butter. Don't use margarine. Don't reduce the amount of salt. Be liberal with the black pepper. Don't be afraid to keep it on the grill long enough to develop a nice smoky char. You want a pleasing balance of salty, peppery juices mingling with the sweetness of the butter and the corn itself, punctuated by the occasional blackened, grill-marked kernel. I know a lot of people prefer to grill corn while it's still in the husk, but I find that shucking the ears first, then wrapping them in aluminum foil allows the corn to cook more rapidly and lets the kernels obtain some of that amazing it's-really-summer-now color that can only be achieved on the grill. Cooking them in the husk is really steaming them -- and steaming is no fun whatsoever when compared to grilling.

I like this corn so much that I often bypass the other food items grilled alongside it, and just fill up on corn on the cob. Though tonight I did enjoy a piece of chicken sausage with spinach and feta cheese -- but the corn was still the centerpiece of the meal. The six ears that I grilled were gone before I had a chance to sit down at the table, it seemed.

It's not summer without this corn. And even though corn is not yet at the peak of its season, give this recipe a try just as soon as your grill is uncovered, propaned or charcoaled up and ready to go. Then try it again later in the summer when you can stock up on the sweetest ears imaginable at the local farmers' market. Then, after that, make some more -- because you can always cut the cooked kernels off the cob and freeze them. These little grilled gems of summer will make you so happy when you defrost them sometime in December.

So! Welcome, blessed warm months. You've already made me forget about the snow.



I've written this recipe for 8 ears of corn. Of course, you can make it for 1 ear, or 100. Just use 1 T. butter, 1/8 t. kosher salt and 1/8 t. black pepper per ear of corn. It's that simple.

8 ears of corn

8 T. butter

1 t. kosher salt

1 t. freshly-cracked black pepper

Remove the husks from the ears of corn. Tear off 8 sheets of aluminum foil roughly 12" long each.

Place one ear of corn on a sheet of aluminum foil. Top with 1 T. butter, 1/8 t. kosher salt and 1/8 t. freshly-cracked black pepper, or to taste. Tightly roll the corn in the foil, somewhat like a burrito. Repeat for each ear of corn.

Place the aluminum-wrapped ears on a preheated grill and cook, turning occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Allow enough time on the grill for the foil to discolor in some places, which indicates that the corn inside has browned nicely.

Remove from the grill, carefully unwrap the foil and serve! I am feeling sheepish about this non-recipe, but trust me. You'll never want to cook corn any other way again.

Makes 8 delicious ears of corn.

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