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"Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn." Garrison Keillor
The best way to cook corn is on the grill, and I have a few tricks that you can use to make the Ultimate Corn on the Cob. This corn is so good, it should be illegal.
Boiling, microwaving, and steaming make tender, juicy corn. But grilled corn is muuuuch more flavorful. Yes, it is a bit chewier, but I don't mind. The sugars caramelize, adding a depth of flavor no other method can produce. And when I am talking about grilling corn, I am not talking about the popular method of soaking the corn, husk and all, in water and then grilling it in the husk. Or putting it in foil. This is steamed corn, not grilled corn and you do not get all the flavors you get when it is nekkid. Believe me, I have tried every method known to man, and this is the one that brings the most bang.
A hint of tarragon adds an exotic sweetness, and the butter soaks in and drips off so the corn isn't the least bit greasy, yet it is buttery and so flavorful you won't want to put butter and salt on it at tableside. Do this once, and you'll never boil corn again. Click here for tips on buying and storing corn and the inside scoop on the new hybrids. Postscript: Hybrids are not Frankenfoods or GMOs. They are simply crossbreeds. Like all of us.
4 ears of fresh sweet corn
8 tablespoons of butter
4 loosely packed tablespoons fresh tarragon, minced
Note. You can leave out the tarragon if you wish. It's still mighty good. But try it in. Tarragon really makes sweet corn sing. You can use other herbs such as thyme, oregano, rosemary, or basil, but tarragon is my favorite. You can also use margarine or a blend or corn oil and butter or margarine, but butter is best.
1) Preheat the grill to medium high.
2) Remove the husks, pull off the silky threads that get stuck in your teeth. Respect your guests. Get them all. Wash the ear in cold water.
3) Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium low heat. Chop the tarragon and chuck it in. Let it steep in the butter for about 15 minutes so it is infused with tarragon flavor.
4) If you are preparing a full meal, put the corn on the grill about 20 minutes before everything else is due to be ready. You don't want to overcook it or leave it sitting around getting cold. Rest the ears between the bars of the grates so you can roll them from groove to groove. Leave 2-4 grooves between ears for easy rolling. Paint them gently all over with the tarragon butter. Try not to let too much fat drip onto the fire so it doesn't flare up and get the corn sooty. Get the tarragon chunks on the corn. If there is a flareup, move the corn to another part of the grill. Close the lid and grill over direct heat for about 4-5 minutes until some of the kernels get toasty golden. Don't burn them. Roll the ears a couple of grooves, about 1/4 turn, and paint them again. Keep browning, turning, and painting until you have done all four quarters. If you run out of butter, don't sweat it. Remove and serve. You can put butter and salt on the table, but urge your guest to taste their ear unadulterated first. Chances are they won't use any butter or salt.
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