Save Money in this Sunday's paper

comments

Summer treat: 25 ways to top corn on the cob

By Janet K. Keeler
Tampa Bay Times
BC-CORN-ON-THE-COB-ART
SCOTT KEELER - TAMPA BAY TIMES
To make a bacon-cheddar topping, spread mayonnaise on warm corn on the cob, roll the corn in grated cheddar cheese and top with crumbled cooked bacon.

More Information

  • Cooking corn

    Remove husks from corn just before cooking. Remove as much of the fine silky thread as you can by running your hands over the cobs and pulling them out. A wet paper towel will remove the rest.

    To boil: The trick to cooking fresh corn is not to overcook it. Bring a large pot (a 6-quart stock pot will fit 4 to 5 large ears) full of water to a boil. Add corn. When water boils again, which will take a few minutes, corn will be cooked but still crisp. If you want the kernels softer, let it boil for another 3 minutes or so. Some people add sugar to water but you should not add salt. It will make the corn tough.

    To grill: Heat grill to medium. Grill corn, turning occasionally until all sides are charred and kernels are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. To grill in the husks, peel the papery layers back, remove silks and then return husks to original position. Soak corn in water for about 15 minutes to prevent the husks from burning on the grill and to allow corn to steam a bit.

    To roast: Corn on the cob can be roasted in the oven – 30 minutes at 375 degrees – in or out of the husk. When corn is in the husk, use the same technique for roasting as you do for grilling, placing the ears directly on the oven rack grate. If you remove the husk, place ears on a baking sheet and turn them a couple of times during cooking. Corn without the husks can also be wrapped in foil before roasting. This is an especially good technique if you spread with flavored butter first.



Corn on the cob can be topped with many different things. Some examples, from left: garlic and Old Bay seasoning; Tuscan blend of rosemary and sun-dried tomato; Jamaican sweet corn rolled in coconut, and Oaxacan-style with queso fresco.SCOTT KEELER | TAMPA BAY TIMES

There may not be any other food that screams summer more than corn on the cob.

It goes with everything – burgers, steaks, chicken, hot dogs – plus it doesn’t require utensils, unless you count those cute cob holders. I simply use my hands and have extra napkins at the ready. Toothpicks, too. It could also be the centerpiece of a vegetarian meal, piled high with grated cheeses.

Corn can be boiled, roasted or grilled, thus adding to its list of versatile personality traits, and that includes how well it meshes with other flavors.

Butter, salt and pepper have long been the most common way to dress up corn on the cob, though many of us like it without any adornment, especially when it is super sweet. But if you think of all the ways we eat corn – in chowders, salads, vegetable medleys and blends and baked goods – you realize how well it pairs with both savory and sweet.

Our list of 25 ways to adorn corn on the cob proves that point. It’s a global survey of flavors that celebrates America’s melting pot.

The toppings should cover 8 ears of corn and are good candidates for experimentation.

1 Oaxacan-Style

Combine 3 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco with 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper. Stir in juice of 1 lime. After corn is cooked, dollop with mixture and serve with more crumbled cheese on top.

2 Maple-Mustard

Brush corn (after, if boiling; before, if grilling) with olive oil. While cooking, combine 1/4 cup maple syrup, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and a pinch of allspice. Spread mixture on hot, cooked corn.

3 Barbecue Glazed

Brush corn with olive oil and grill. Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion, 2 tablespoons honey and 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt. Baste corn with mixture during last 3 minutes of grilling.

4 Olive Oil, Garlic and Parmesan

Combine 2 grated garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Baste hot, cooked corn with mixture and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

5 Chilies and Lime

Cut corn into 3- to 4-inch lengths and cook. While the corn is cooking, mix 1/2 stick of melted butter plus 2 tablespoons each mayonnaise, sour cream and lime juice, and 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste in a large bowl. When corn is cooked, toss in mixture. Garnish with lime zest.

6 Curry and Pistachios

Stir 2 tablespoons curry powder into 1 stick of hot melted butter. Drizzle on cooked corn and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

7 Tuscan Blend

Mix 2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs, such as McCormick’s Perfect Pinch blend of rosemary and sun-dried tomato, with 1 stick softened butter. Let sit for at least 30 minutes so that the dried herbs rehydrate. Spread over cooked corn.

8 Basil-Tomato

Seed 2 ripe tomatoes and grate, then drain. Discard as much liquid as possible. Mix tomato pulp with 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil. Season with salt and spread on cooked corn.

9 Cilantro and Sesame

Mix 1 stick softened butter with 2 teaspoons each toasted sesame seeds and chopped fresh cilantro. Spread on corn and sprinkle with more sesame seeds and kosher salt.

10 Tarragon and Lime

Mix 1 stick softened butter with 2 to 3 tablespoons of minced fresh tarragon and the zest of 1 large lime. Spread on hot, cooked corn.

11 Bacon-Cheddar

Spread mayonnaise on warm corn. Roll in grated cheddar cheese and top with crumbled, cooked bacon.

12 Honey-Butter

Mix 1 stick softened butter with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons honey. Spread on hot, cooked corn.

13 Parsley and Chive

Mix 1 stick softened butter with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 tablespoon each (or more, according to taste) of finely chopped fresh parsley and chives. Spread on hot, cooked corn.

14 Fruit Chutney

Mix 1 stick melted butter with 3 tablespoons fruit chutney, like Major Grey’s. (You could even use marmalade.) Drizzle over hot, cooked corn.

15 Guacamole

Spread homemade or prepared guacamole over hot, cooked corn. Top with a squeeze of fresh lime.

16 Bacon-Wrapped

Wrap raw corn with slices of bacon to make a spiral and brush lightly with honey. Grill on medium or roast in a 350-degree oven, either for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn several times during cooking so that bacon cooks evenly.

17 Pesto and Parmesan

You won’t need butter or oil when you spread pesto over hot, cooked corn. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

18 Goat Cheese and Thyme

Stir together 2 tablespoons softened butter with 2 ounces goat cheese crumbles, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried). Season with freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt. Spread on hot, cooked corn.

19 Cinnamon Sugar

Add 1 tablespoon each cinnamon and sugar to 1 stick melted butter. Drizzle on hot, cooked corn.

20 Cumin and Pepper

Mix 1 stick softened butter with 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and coarse sea salt to taste. Spread on hot, cooked corn.

21 Garlic and Old Bay

Blend 1 stick softened butter with 1 minced garlic clove and 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Spread on cooked corn and sprinkle with more Old Bay and kosher salt.

22 Lemon-Pepper

Mix2 tablespoons lemon-pepper blend with 1 stick softened butter and spread over hot, cooked corn. Garnish with lemon zest.

23 Jamaican Sweet Corn

Mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Spread mixture on hot, cooked corn and roll in toasted coconut.

24 Spicy Asian Glaze

Mix 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, 1/4 cup honey, 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Brush on corn and grill or roast, basting and turning several times. Before serving, sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

25 Spicy Sriracha

Mix 1 stick softened butter with 2 tablespoons fiery Sriracha sauce. Spread on hot, cooked corn. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro.

Sources: Buzzfeed.com; Food Network; Cooking Light; Better Homes and Gardens; Real Simple

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
CharlotteObserver.com