One of summers culinary high points is enjoying fresh, just-picked corn, with the husk still attached so you can enjoy its garden-fresh sweetness. I love to make corn salsas, puddings and soups, but grilling the corn is what I do most. There are a number of ways to accomplish this.
Corn on the cob, grilled in the husk with chili butter, enhances the smoky-sweet corn flavor. Chipotle chilies are smoked jalepenos and are often packed in adobo sauce. Its best to add the chili puree in small increments to the butter until you find the perfect amount of heat. You can use the peeled-back husks to hold the corn or detach the husks and use corn holders or your hands. This method takes a bit of time but is definitely worth a try on your barbecue this summer.
Corn that has been husked (naked) is quick to prepare and tends to be sweeter since the corn kernels are grilled directly on the heat and become caramelized. Remember that husked corn cooks much faster than corn in the husk. Olive oil and a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice impart a complementary flavor. Each of these recipes is delicious in its own way. Try both and see which you prefer.
Selection, storage tips
• Dont buy ears with gigantic kernels.
• Look for fresh green husks and tender milky kernels that are plump and leave no space between the rows.
• Store corn very cold and for only a short time, since it does not keep well and its delicious sugar will quickly turn to starch (an ice chest filled with ice will keep the corn at its best for a few hours).
• If at all possible, eat corn the same day it is picked.
Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including Seriously Simple Holidays, and also a James Beard award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.