Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grilled Corn on the Cob

I'm having a corn problem. Unlike my zucchini problem, though, Nick's okay with this one. Partially because he likes corn, and partially because this obsession comes with a lot more variety. Whereas the zucchini obsession centered mostly on zucchini fritters, a corn obsession involves corn fritters, corn and toasted cumin salsa, creamless creamed corn, Mexicanish stuffed tomatoes, fish grilled in corn husks, ribeye with warm tomato and corn salad, golden corn chowder, and corn pudding (coming soon).

I've previously discussed how corn on the cob can be nice if you're in the mood for something simple, but it tends to get stuck in your teeth and it's not terribly exciting and all that stuff. It is, however, one of those necessary rites of summer.

Well, over at Poor Girl Gourmet, grilled corn on the cob was recently mentioned. I've actually never really seen the point in grilling corn on the cob, but I had never before seen a recipe that involved first soaking the ears of corn in some water. Also, Amy swore that this corn is exceptional, and that it's like corn creme brulee.

I was curious, we wanted a minimal prep meal, and we were going to have the grill fired up anyway, so we decided to give this a try. And the verdict? It was yummy, and it was a fun experiment. The corn, though, was nothing exceptional. It wasn't really even that much better than some plain old boiled corn on the cob. I should note, though, that we have a gas grill. A charcoal grill with its smouldering hunks of wood might have added a lot more interest to the corn than our propane was able to.

So I don't want you to think that I'm posting a recipe in this forum that I don't think is worth trying. It is, if only because it's a fun experiment and it doesn't take a lot of time or effort. Plus, you might think that I'm crazy and this is the best corn you've ever eaten. In fact, if you try this, feel free to let me know what you thought of it in the comments section.

One thing worth noting is that this cooking method was much more successful with the thin, anemic type ears, as opposed to the fat, juicy ears. So if you get a batch of corn that's not all plump and robust, this grilling trick may be the way to go.

Grilled Corn on the Cob
(From Poor Girl Gourmet)

Make 1 to 2 ears per person, depending on your appetite. You can also intentionally cook extra and cut the kernels off later and add them to stuffed vegetables or a summer salad.

Take your ears of corn and strip off the parts of the husk that are loose and dangly. Pull the silk out from the top of the ears. Submerge the ears in water for an hour. If they're not completely covered by the water, flip them around half way through.  As Amy suggests, you can then use the soaking water to nourish your plants.

This is a direct quote from Amy, as she explains this part just right:
At the end of the soaking hour, preheat the grill to high if using a gas grill, or create a hot bed of coals in your charcoal grill (charcoal grilling, of course, lends additional smoky flavor to the corn, and is also worth the effort. For the purpose of this post, the timings given are for high heat on a covered gas grill, though the visual cues can be used to guide you if you're grilling with charcoal.).
Spread your ears over the grill and cook them, covered, for 5 to 7 minutes. Rotate the ears a quarter turn and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. You'll do a total of four sides, for a total cooking time of about 20 to 24 minutes. I might try a little less next time, but this is a good place to start. When the corn is ready, the husks will be blackened, and there may be some charred kernels peeking out.

You can serve these in the husks, or you can let them cool a bit and then shuck them. I actually thought that it worked rather well to let the ears cool, and in the meantime grill up our thick-cut, brined pork chops.

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