To me, corn screams summer. Literally.
When I was little, my mom used to take my sister and I – often accompanied by other neighborhood kids – to the beach. Every day, of every summer, of the first nine years of my life (while we still lived in Odessa). And everyday, there were ladies walking up and down the beach, screaming, “Hot corn! Hot corn!” (in Russian, of course). When you called for one of these ladies, they would come over and present you with a steaming hot cob of corn, along with a salt shaker for you to season to your liking. So no, we did not eat fruit roll-ups or Lay’s chips as snacks. We ate corn. The bursting sweet corn make us all giddy, and between that, the warm sand, the gentle sea breeze and my angel of a mother, I could not have asked for better summers.
This corn, however, is something I would not have even thought possible back then. It is an exciting, jazzed up version of one of my favorite childhood foods, and it is so good and easy to make. It makes for a great snack, or side dish at a barbecue or weeknight dinner.
From an aesthetic point of view, it would be best to leave the cheese out of the herb butter and just sprinkle it on afterwards, but I decided to mix it in. You can use whichever method you prefer.
(Yield: 8 pieces)
4 ears of corn, husked
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter, at room temp.
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Procedure: Start by making the herb butter – place the butter, garlic, cilantro, cheese, salt and peppers into a dish with a flat bottom and mash together with a fork. (If you can avoid eating all of it at this point, I applaud you).
Heat a grill pan over high heat. Lightly brush the corn with olive oil and place on grill. Cook for 15-20 min, turning occasionally, until the corn is evenly charred throughout. Remove from grill and place on a cutting board. Working with one piece at a time, hold down corn with an oven mitt and cut in two pieces. Then place corn onto a platter and divide the butter evenly among the pieces, using a butter knife to spread it. Serve immediately.