For most of us, piping hot, slathered with butter and sprinkled with salt really is the best way to enjoy corn on the cob.
Our only gripe with it? It’s so good, we tend to forget that fresh corn doesn’t need to be cooked to be delicious. In fact, raw corn eaten right off the cob is easily one of the freshest, sweetest ways to capture the taste of summer. Adding raw corn kernels also is an easy way to push just about any salad over the top.
The best way to cut kernels from an ear of corn – cooked or otherwise – is to stand each ear on its wide end on a cutting board. Then use a serrated to knife to saw down the side of the cob, cutting just deep enough to slice off the kernels. Rotate the cob and saw down again, repeating until all of the kernels are removed.
Looking for still more corn options?
Well, it’s hard to improve on the delicious simplicity of summer perfect corn on the cob slathered with butter and sprinkled with salt. But fresh corn also is a splendid foundation on which all manner of flavor combinations can be built, from sweet (check out the Fluff masterpiece below) to savory (bacon, anyone?) to spicy (chili lime!). So use our list as a starting point and see how many directions you can go with your corn.
- Blue cheese chive butter – Mash together 4 tablespoons softened butter with 4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese. Stir in 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Spread on hot corn on the cob.
- Old Bay boil – Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season heavily with Old Bay Seasoning. Boil husked ears of corn until tender, about 5 minutes. Serve with butter and an additional sprinkle of Old Bay.
- Spreadable bacon – Cook 1 slice of bacon per ear of corn. In a food processor, crumble the bacon and process until finely chopped. Add 1 tablespoon of butter per ear, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Spread on hot corn on the cob.
- Herb vinaigrette – In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, a hefty pinch of salt and black pepper, 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme. Drizzle over the corn.
- Toasted almond and tarragon – Spread 1⁄2 cup ground almonds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until golden and toasted, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool. Mix in 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon and 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt. Coat each hot ear of corn with butter, then roll in the almond-tarragon mixture.
- Toasted marshmallow – Husk 6 ears of corn, skewer with long skewers, and coat lightly with cooking spray.
Grill over medium-high until tender and lightly charred, turning frequently. Spread each ear of corn with a couple tablespoons of marshmallow spread (Fluff). Turn the grill flame up (or use a campfire) and toast the marshmallow on all sides.
- Smoked feta and pepper – Finely crumble 1/2 cup smoked feta cheese. Mix in 2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeno peppers. Coat each hot ear of corn with butter, then roll in the cheese and pepper mixture.
- Jerk grilled – Whisk together 1 tablespoon water and 2 tablespoons molasses. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat 4 ears of corn with the molasses mixture. Sprinkle all over with purchased or homemade jerk seasoning. Grill over indirect heat on well-oiled grates until tender.
- Chili lime – Spread cooked ears of corn on a platter. Sprinkle with fresh lime juice, finely grated lime zest, ground cumin, minced serrano chili and salt.
- Saffron and olive cream – Mix 2 tablespoons minced Kalamata olives, 2 tablespoons minced green olives, a pinch of saffron and a pinch of black pepper into 1⁄4 cup mascarpone cheese. Spread over hot corn on the cob.
Still looking for something else? Here are three recipes that still get you thinking beyond the basic cob.
Sausage And Corn Gravy
- 1 pound loose breakfast or sweet Italian sausage
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup corn kernels, cut from 1 ear of corn
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 cup finely sliced scallions
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high, saute the sausage, onion and corn until all are browned, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat well. Add the milk and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the scallions.
- Yields 6 servings.
Open-Faced Corn And Zucchini Omelet
- 1 pound zucchini, coarsely shredded
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels
- 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Ground black pepper
- 4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into thin strips
- Chopped fresh dill, to garnish
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a colander, toss the zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and let the mixture stand over the sink for 10 minutes.
- In a large, oven-safe nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Using your hands, squeeze small handfuls of the zucchini to discard as much water as possible. Add the squeezed zucchini to the skillet with the onion. Return the skillet to medium heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the corn, eggs and the remaining teaspoon of salt. Cook, lifting up the edges of the omelet to let the uncooked egg mixture flow underneath, until the omelet is mostly set. Transfer the omelet to the oven and bake for 5 minutes, or until the top is just set.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the yogurt, lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, cut the omelet into wedges and top each portion with a quarter of the salmon and lemon cream, as well as a sprinkling of dill.
- Yields 4 servings.
Summer Edamame Succotash
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
- 4 ears corn, kernels removed
- 1 cup shelled edamame
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- In a large deep skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the garlic, onion and red pepper flakes, then saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender.
- Add the celery, red pepper, corn kernels and edamame. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme and chives, then season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Yields 8 servings.