Sweet Nuggets of Gold

Come mid-summer, the days turn long and warm. And corn on the cob is one of those foods that’s synonymous with summer. It’s a perfect side for hamburgers, hot dogs, or a perfectly seared steak.

Everyone swears by their favorite method to cook corn on the cob. You can find them in the grocery store already shucked and trimmed at a cost of $1 or more per ear. Frozen in packs, usually six for ~$5.  The cost of a fresh ear is usually no more than 50 cents. As the summer wears on, they get down to 4 for a dollar. The frozen corn usually comes out kind of mushy after steaming or boiling and pre-shucked corn is to my mind just throwing away money.

I have come up with a recipe for the most delicious way to roast corn in the over. But I hear you say, “Roasted corn isn’t anything new!” You’d be right – it’s not. But I got inspired after having a delicious ear of corn at the world-famous Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. I tweaked their recipe a bit and it turned out absolutely delicious.

Start by selecting the freshest ears you can find. There’s no absolute foolproof way to do this, but there’s one way that works wonders for me.

Just pick the ear up and smell it, especially close to the end with the tassel. The corn should smell fresh, something like freshly mown grass. The silks at the top should still have a lot of green. The ear itself should feel full and firm.

Perfectly fresh ears of corn. Note how much green is showing on the tassel silks.

If you’re unsure, pull back the shuck just enough to see the first few kernels. They should be the yellow of golden creamy butter. (Or freshly polished ivory, if you’re looking at white corn.)

What fresh kernels and silks should look like. It should smell like freshly-mown grass.

When you get it home and are ready to cook, begin by shucking the corn and removing the silk. Slather the exposed kernels with soft butter. Follow up with yours herbs of choice.

For two ears of corn, I use a teaspoon of each of the following: red pepper flakes, garlic (either fresh minced or powder) dried parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix the spices and then drizzle on evenly over the kernels. The butter will help the spices stick. Wrap up tight in tin foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Unwrap, watch the hot steam, and Happy Eating!

Hot and perfectly roasted. Wait for it to cool enough to pick up, or get out your corn holders!
Corn with corn holders. Pictured with my (almost) famous pork ribs.