Writing about tart cherries recently reminded me that fresh corn season is rapidly approaching, too. I’ve lived in many places – north, south, east, and west – and fresh corn has always been readily available beginning sometime in July. And, by fresh corn I mean corn that earlier the day you buy it was still clinging to a stalk! We all know that corn on the cob is available nearly everywhere year round, and it is always a special treat, but there is nothing better than the taste of corn cooked the same day it’s picked. Now that’s fresh.
I actually have two “simple” methods – boiling and roasting (grilling, actually). In the kitchen, I shuck the corn, bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop in the corn and cook it for exactly 7 minutes – and not a second longer. (Readers living in high altitude areas already know 7 minutes will be insufficient for them!) After seven minutes, remove and serve immediately. I should note here, however, that early season corn – typically with smaller kernels – sometimes requires only 5 or 6 minutes.
Roasting, or grilling, is even easier, although it takes longer. Plus, grilling the corn at high temperature also creates additional wonderful flavors as the corn sugars begin to caramelize. There is no need to soak the unhusked corn in water. The husk already contains sufficient moisture to keep the corn kernels moist. Preheat your gas or charcoal grill, lay the unhusked corn on the grill, close the cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Then rotate each ear 180 degrees, cover, and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Shuck, and serve immediately. (The ears obviously are very hot, so I use two towels to keep the corn hot and my hands cool!) Needless to say, grilled corn is my personal favorite.
Finally, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I must acknowledge that I have never lived on a farm or grown corn myself. Those that have may completely disagree with the last two paragraphs. If so, I would welcome hearing from you. I will quickly bow to the “experts.” Equally important, I cannot claim other cooking methods produce inferior results. Not having tried them, they may work better than my self-proclaimed “simple” methods. I’d enjoy hearing from anyone with alternative suggestions, too.
I can claim that I always prefer “simple,” and I can vouch for the methods I’ve described. I hope you will find an opportunity to try them, and perhaps let me know what you think of them.