While we love the unabashedly decadent version of Mexican sweet corn (the one slathered with crema, cheese, chile and a jolt of lime), we also understand the need for a little restraint now and then. Consider this recipe an ascetic take, and a delicious one at that — corn grilled with just a small slather of butter until it’s slightly charred then dressed with lime juice and hot chile. Utterly addicting.
Cook to Cook: Corn has gone through some genetic tinkering in the past, so now “super sweet” ears dominate markets. It’s fine that we’ve got ears that don’t lose their sweetness in a day, but super sweets can be so overpowering you lose that homey fresh corn taste. Look for “sweet enhanced” instead. This is from the previous generation of tinkering, and ears taste more “real” but still hold their sugars for some time in the refrigerator.
1. Prepare a charcoal grill for one-zone direct grilling or preheat a gas grill to high.
2. When the coals are completely covered with grey ash, grill the corn about 4 inches from the coals, turning often with tongs and brushing them several times with the butter. After about 5 minutes, or when the corn is beginning to color, remove the cobs to a platter and give them a final light brush of butter. Sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper.
3. Pour several tablespoons of lime juice on each person’s plate, and put the chile powder in a bowl. Let the corn cool until it is easy to handle but still warm, then have everyone roll their corn in the lime juice and sprinkle it liberally with hot chile powder.
From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.
"Vegetables are perishable, so we don't have any indication of what they looked like 500 years ago," says James Nienhuis, a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin.