Corn on the cob is a summer staple that should be part of every summer celebration and backyard cookout because not only is fresh corn cheap when it’s in season but it’s also quick and easy to prepare!
There must be as many ways to prepare fresh corn on the cob as there are people who love to eat it. Here are four of my favorites:
1. Stovetop. You have to try this. Just let me warn you: It sounds insane, but once you prepare corn on the stovetop this way, you’ll never go back. It’s a family heritage recipe I got from a self-avowed corn snob who grew up on a farm in Iowa.
Remove husks and silk from six ears of fresh corn. Fill a pot about 3/4 full with water, and bring it to a rolling boil. Stir in 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Carefully place corn in the water. Cover the pot. And turn off the heat. Check after 10 minutes to see that the corn is tender. If not, return the lid, and allow it to sit for a few more minutes.
2. Microwave. Some time ago, the following great reader tip showed up in my mail, complete with photos! I tried Dick’s method right then and there, and wow, it is so slick!
I have demonstrated this to friends and family many times since, always to rave reviews, not only for the surprising finale but also for the perfectly cooked corn.
Cut through the husk right up to — not through — the cob at the stem end (where the ear was attached to the stalk) and all the way around. Microwave on high, three minutes per ear. Example: If you have two ears, microwave for six minutes. Remove them from microwave carefully, and then grasp and pull the corn right out of the husks. No muss, no hairy corn silk!
3. Roast. Food blogger Tonia, of The Gunny Sack fame, offers the following amazing method to roast corn on the cob — in the husks. No prep, no soaking required. Oh, my, you must try! Roasting in the husks gives corn a mysteriously subtle, indescribably delicious, fabulous flavor.
Tonia instructs: Fire up the grill to medium heat. Place corn on the cob with husks directly on the grill grate, leaving a bit of space between cobs for heat circulation. Close the cover. Carefully turn the corn after five minutes using tongs. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning every five minutes until hot and tender, making sure to close the cover between turns. Remove corn, and allow it to cool slightly before peeling away charred husks.
4. Grill. Nagi at RecipeTin Eats has a way to prepare corn on an open grill. She insists — and I trust her — “This is the most effortless BBQ side dish ever!”
Get the grill going, and crank it up very hot. Peel the husks and silk off of the corn. Place the corn on the open grill — no oil required. Cook for 10 minutes, turning every couple of minutes, until you see little charred bits and the kernels are tender but still juicy when pierced with a knife.
Overcooked corn, says Nagi, is shriveled, dry and sad. Don’t do that. During the last minute of cooking, brush with melted butter, and roll the corn around. Serve with softened butter, salt and sprinkled parsley if desired.
Bonus tip. Instead of scurrying about to locate a pair of corn handles for every person at the table, use 6- or 8-inch bamboo skewers — one skewer per ear. Insert into the flat end, kinda like a lollipop. There! So much easier for you and your guests.