Sunday, August 24, 2008

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Lime Butter

I grew up in the middle of a cornfield in Illinois. Corn everywhere. The unpalatable, 'agricultural-industrial complex' kind of corn that Michael Pollan writes about in The Omnivore's Dilemma, destined to be made into high-fructose corn syrup, packaged foods, and all kinds of bad things. Imagine being surrounded by corn you couldn't eat all summer, like being thirsty in the ocean. I hated that corn.

Sweet corn...well, that's another story. Just-picked sweet corn is the best food on the planet, I think. Sweet and crunchy, it's even good raw, right off the ear. Go ahead, try it! Cut it into a salad and you'll become a convert. Of course growing up we'd do the traditional preparation - throw it in boiling, salted water for a few minutes, then slather it with butter. Perfection.

You could stop reading right there. Boil corn, butter it, eat it, or eat it raw. Blog posting over! But, given that our charge is to update farmhouse classics, I'll tell you how I do corn now: I grill it and brush it with seasoned butter, to raves.

I first read about this approach in Bon Appetit, and have since come up with my own way of making the Chipotle butter that I think works better than the original recipe - I season the butter in a ramekin and brush it on the corn as it grills, then squeeze a lime over the corn once it's done and finish it off with a flick of kosher salt. There's just something so wonderful about the sweet smokiness of the grilled corn that matches well with the bright flavors of the lime and the warmth of the chipotle and butter. Sweet corn is delicious on its own; this preparation takes that base flavor and cranks it up to 11. Enjoy!

4 ears sweet corn, husks and silks removed
1/2 stick butter, softened to room temperature
Juice and zest 1/2 lime, reserve other 1/2 lime
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t Chipotle Chile powder

Remove the husks and silks from the corn.

Cube the butter into a ramekin or other heatproof container. Let sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature to soften. Top with the salt, Chipotle, lime zest and lime juice, and mash together with a fork to combine.

Brush one side of the corn with butter and place buttered side down on a medium-hot grill. Brush and turn the corn while it grills, about 3-5 minutes, until the corn is evenly cooked (a little char is perfect - adds to the flavor). Remove from grill, squeeze reserved 1/2 lime over corn and sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve immediately. Pass out toothpicks after dinner. Receive congratulations from your guests.

1 comment:

Gone-ta-pott said...

I love this butter recipe and grill with it often!