Corn on the Cob with Lemon Butter and Salt

May 22, 2012 9:18:13 AM PDT
There are two ways to cook corn when it's in season and I've given recipes for each method below.

When you have the time, light the grill and roast the corn slowly over the open flame. This imparts a sweet, smoky flavor to the kernels, making each bite a succulent treat. Boiling the corn is a faster, more efficient cooking method and is great for hectic nights. Best of all, you can leave the cooked corn in the hot water for up to 30 minutes so people can grab and go as they please. Naptime Stopwatch: 5 minutes prep time, 15 minutes cook time.

Makes 6 ears

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 6 fresh ears of corn
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. To make the lemon butter: Use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a bowl. Set aside.

2. To boil the corn: Shuck the ears of corn and remove all the silk strands. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and add the corn. Boil the corn for 7 minutes, starting to time the cooking after the water has returned to a boil. Remove the corn with tongs and pat dry. Using a knife or spoon, rub some of the lemon butter over the hot kernels, allowing the butter to melt into them and drip onto the plate. Rotate the ear so that all of the kernels are coated. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the buttered corn and serve immediately.

3. To grill the corn: Remove the silk from the tips of the corn ears but keep the rest of the husk intact. Fill a large pot or the kitchen sink with cool water and soak the corn for 20 to 30 minutes. It sometimes helps to place a heavy object over the corn to keep it entirely submerged in the water while it soaks. While the corn is soaking, heat a grill to a medium flame. Remove the corn from the water and shake the excess water off, but don't dry it. Place the wet corn on the hottest part of the grill and cook, turning it occasionally, for 15 minutes. The husks will get brown and have grill marks. To test for doneness, peel back the very top of the husk and press on the kernels. They should be tender to the touch, soft enough that they indent when you press on them. Remove the corn from the grill and let cool for a few minutes until they are comfortable to touch. Peel back the husks entirely and rub the lemon butter across the kernels, allowing the butter to melt into them and drip on the plate. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the buttered corn and serve immediately.

Make-Ahead Tips: Boiled corn will stay warm in the cooking water for up to 30 minutes. Alternatively, the corn can be boiled at any time of day and cut off the cob to save for a later time. To store cooked corn kernels, allow them to cool to room temperature and keep them in a plastic bag or container in the refrigerator.

Variation Ideas: To make different flavored butters, add lime zest, orange zest, or a pinch of smoked paprika. Herbed Salt would taste great, too.

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