Corn on the cob is always a popular summertime treat and during its brief season markets and roadside stands overflow with bushels of corn at rock bottom prices. Frozen and canned corn typically enjoyed during the winter months pales in comparison to the sweet flavour of fresh summer corn on the cob.
There are dozens of sweet corn varieties grown for eating on the cob. It’s a uniquely North American treat – Europeans grow corn for animal feed and cornmeal but don’t usually eat it off the cob. Some common varieties include Peaches & Cream, Silver Queen and Argent. The kernels can vary in colour from yellow to bi-coloured and white, depending on the type. Look for cobs with well-formed, tight kernels that appear fresh. If there are signs of bugs or the kernels look dry, don’t buy it. Corn should be used as soon as possible after harvesting as its sweetness decreases quickly after it’s been picked.
Roasting corn enhances its natural sweetness even further and adds a delicious charred flavour to the kernels. To roast four cobs of corn:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the corn husks including all the silk and break off any long stems. Pour 2 teaspoons of olive oil or neutral oil such as canola over the corn and rub cobs so they are evenly coated with oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast for 12 minutes and turn cobs over with tongs or a fork. Roast for another 12 to 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
This dish can be served warm or at room temperature, making it ideal for casual summer entertaining. Be sure to use fresh herbs instead of dried for maximum flavour. One medium ear of corn typically yields between ½ to ¾ cup of kernels.
Makes 4 servings (1 cob per person)
Serving suggestion: This dish easily becomes a first course or main course with the addition of grilled shrimp or pan seared scallops. Top each serving with the seafood and freshly ground pepper. It can also be added to cooked pasta to make an elegant vegetarian dish. Choose fresh flat pasta, such as fettuccine or linguine.