I grew up in Illinois and remember summers brimming with fresh corn, both on and off the cob. I think one of the first shopping tricks I ever learned was how to select a good ear of corn. I remember being taught by my mom, as a really young child, how to pull back husks of corn in the grocery store and what to look for – and that continued to be my job every time we bought corn - a wonderful bit of nostalgia.
Fresh, buttered corn is quite simply, delicious! And, I must say it can be hard to “top” the simplicity of those flavors. But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try right?
So, as we head into the dog days of summer and the tail end of the fresh corn season, let’s do some experimenting!
Corn on the Cob Toppings
The cooking is simple: Grill or boil corn, then roll in butter. Add toppings directly on top slowly using your fingers. You can always add seasoning but you can’t remove it!
And what about this? Throw an end of summer party with a corn on the cob topping bar! Here’s just a start of the ideas you can come up with. Literally raid your cupboards and put out what you’ve got.
10 Fun Corn on the Cob toppings:
. Fresh Lime
. Lime & ‘Season-all’
. Curry powder: Balti and tandori are good
. Mesquite seasoning
. Herb butter (cilantro, basil, or dill)
. Cajun salt
. Old Bay
. Garlic salt
. Mrs. Dash
. Dessert: cinnamon and sugar
. Barbeque Sauce
You’ve just got to experience Mexican grilled corn; it's easy to make at home (try it before the end of corn season). Or you can cut off the grilled kernels, mix them with the ingredients, and eat it as a dip.
Elote’ (Mexican Grilled Corn)
4 ears sweet corn
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon chile powder or cayenne
salt, to taste
2/3 cup crumbled cotija anejo cheese
extra cayenne pepper or chile powder, for sprinkling
fresh finely chopped cilantro for optional garnish
Soak corn (in husks) in cold water for 25-30 minutes.
Prepare a medium-hot grill. Peel back the corn husks leaving them attached at the end. Remove the silk. Pull the husks back up and tie with a spare piece of husk or a small piece of cooking twine. Place the ears on the grill. Cook 20-25 minutes, turning several times to ensure even roasting. The kernels should be soft when fully cooked.
If you’d like the kernels more charred, then simply follow the above instructions, but cook in husks for 15 minutes only. Then cool ears slightly, pull back the husks (to use as handles) and place the ears directly on the grill (with husks overhanging the side) for 5-7 minutes, or until they reach desired level of charring.
Place crumbled cheese on a plate large enough to fit an ear of corn. In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, lime juice, cayenne pepper or chile powder, and salt. When the corn is cooked, brush each ear with some mayo sauce then roll in the cheese. Serve with lime wedges, additional cayenne pepper or chile powder, and fresh finely chopped cilantro.
If you are unable to grill outdoors, then you can oven roast the corn. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place corn in husks (no need to soak first) directly on the middle rack of the oven for 30 - 40 minutes, or until corn is soft to the touch. Allow to cool slightly, then remove husks and add toppings.
Live and Learn!