Is there anything better than corn on the cob, fresh as can be? The Juicy-Fruit market in Ravenswood, near our lake getaway, was selling three different kinds of sweet corn this week: Yellow Sweet, Peaches and Cream and White Gold. So much choice! We’ve already had two kinds in three days.
Of course, the classic way to prepare corn is to simply boil it. The Culinary Consultant is in charge of this preparation, and it always turns out so good. He brings a pot of water to a boil, adds the Peaches and Cream corn, and once the water is back to a boil lets it cook for three minutes. I’ve always cooked corn for 10 minutes, but I have to say, his way is better! The result is so tender and juicy. Served with just butter, pepper and a bit of salt, this is simple summer eating at its best.
Add a serving of black bean salad alongside, and you have an easy, healthful meal that won’t bog you down for the trip to the nearest town after dinner for ice cream.
This summer I’ve been experimenting with grilling spicy corn, and prepared some using the White Gold “triple sweet” corn for our first meal at the cottage. First, remove the protruding dry silks, then soak the corn, husks and all, in a large pot of water for about 10 minutes. Put it on the barbeque, still in its wet husks for another 10 minutes, turning once or twice. Then comes the tricky part — removing the husks without burning your hands (I hold the corn using an oven mitt, but you’ll need to find what works best for you). Return the shucked corn to the grill and brush on the pre-prepared spice mixture. Grill the corn for about another 8 minutes, turning as grill marks begin to appear. Sprinkle on the garnishes, and dig in!
Since I’d left my basting brush at home, I dribbled the spice mixture onto the cobs and then rubbed it around with a spoon. This technique is not to be recommended at all. For one thing, I couldn’t apply the mixture evenly, and for another it took too long and the spoon was too short to be holding over a hot grill, which led to cussing, thus marring the tranquility of life at the cottage for a brief period. A fleeting feeling of being pioneer-like in my virtuous ability to improvise in the absence of accustomed tools did not compensate for singed fingers. Moral of this story: use a long-handled basting brush!
I’ve made corn this way three times now, and I’ve learned it’s important not to over-grill it, otherwise the kernels can become dry. Corn prepared this way is still juicy, but there’s also caramelization, adding a sticky and chewy pleasant textural contrast. The spiciness of the rub works well with the sweetness of the corn, and the feta cheese and cilantro garnishes also complement and help mellow out the spiciness. The Culinary Enthusiast quite enjoyed the spicy grilled corn; it’s definitely a high flavour dish! While it’s a good change from plain boiled corn, I confess, the simple preparation will always be the one we associate with summer.
One more word of advice, regardless of the preparation you choose: don’t forget the dental floss!
Spice Mixture & Garnish for Grilled Corn
For six cobs of white corn, I used 1-1/2 – 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp chili powder, a good shake of cumin, pepper and salt, stirring it all together in a ramekin.
Once the corn is removed from the grill, sprinkle on crumbled feta cheese and finely chopped cilantro as a final tasty garnish that complements the spiciness.