We are just now getting our first local sweet corn of the season. It’s not at peak yet, but it’s still wonderful and I plan on eating bushels of it before the summer is over.
There are probably hundreds of ways to cook sweet corn, but my hands-down favorite is grilled with the husks on. It’s a little messy, but the husk and silk protect the corn from the direct heat of the grill so it kind of both steams and roasts in its own juices which concentrates the flavor.
Buy the freshest corn you can find – look for full, heavy ears with tight, bright-green husks. Trim the ears by removing the outer husks until you have just a few pale-green layers left. Leave the silk around the corn, but remove any excess silk on the end (I just cut everything past the end of the cob off with kitchen shears). Trim the stalks, leaving just an inch or so to use as a handle.
Soak the ears in ice water while you fire up the grill. You want a hot (500°F) direct fire.
When the grill is ready, arrange the ears directly on the grate and cook, turning every couple of minutes, until the husks are charred and blackened (and sometimes on fire), about 10-15 minutes total.
To remove the husks, hold the ear upright by the stalk (use a kitchen towel or insulated food gloves to keep from burning yourself) and peel it like a banana – pulling the husks down around the stem. Pick off any remaining silk, then snap the stalk off, taking the husks with it. Like I said, it can be a little messy, so I try to do it outside or over a trash can.
I’ve had a lot of sweet corn in my time, but this was some of the corniest ever (I know, sorry ) – the flavor was sweet, but also really rich. The husk and silk kept all that wonderful corn essence in, but still let just enough fire through to give it a little smoke and caramelization.
The only way to improve on this would be moving the cooked and husked corn back to the grill for a little butter baste at the end. But that might just be gilding the lily.
An ear is 113 calories and 2 Weight Watchers points without the butter. But who has sweet corn without butter?!?
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