En español | These days I either microwave or grill fresh corn. Not only are these methods faster than boiling, they also help retain the corn's natural flavor. To microwave corn, place it on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and cook on high power. It takes about two minutes for one ear. For multiple ears, the time per ear goes down. For example, for three ears figure five minutes, and for four ears try six minutes. If they're very hot to the touch, you know they're done. If not, set the timer for another minute or so.
If you're already grilling your entree or cooking corn for a crowd, the grill is very effective. Before placing the shucked ears on the hot grill, lightly oil them, which helps produce that spotty brown caramel color the kernels get with this direct heat.
You can also toss ears of corn — husk and all — on the grill. Soak them in water first, for a more boiled look and flavor. Or throw them on without soaking, and the husks will attractively char, and the corn will develop a pleasant smoky flavor.
Once the corn comes off the grill, it's ready for a little butter, salt and pepper, or my new favorite — Mexican street corn flavorings. The hot ears are brushed with mayonnaise or sour cream (or a combo) and sprinkled with queso fresco (a cheese similar in texture to feta), then served with lime wedges for squeezing. I've lightened the mixture by blending Greek yogurt and mayo, heavy on the former. This thick, cool, creamy blend coats the ear, and its flavors blend nicely with the sweet caramel flavor of the corn.
I've turned this traditional on-the-cob dish into a bright summer salad. If you want to enjoy it on the cob, as described above, mix the same yogurt and mayo ratio that I have suggested for the salad and sprinkle with queso fresco (use feta or Parmesan cheese if you can't find queso fresco).
Mexican Street Corn Salad
- 8 ears corn, shucked
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 8 ounces queso fresco cheese, crumbled
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Salt and ground black pepper
Heat gas grill, igniting all burners on high for at least 10 minutes, or build a hot charcoal fire. Clean grate with a wire brush and then lubricate with an oil-soaked rag. Meanwhile, lightly brush corn with oil.
Place corn on hot grate: grill until spotty brown, about 5 minutes. Turn corn over; continue to grill until spotty brown on remaining side, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from grill and let stand until cool enough to handle, and then cut kernels from cob and transfer to a large bowl.
Add yogurt, mayonnaise, cheese, scallions, cilantro and lime juice; toss to coat, then serve. (Can be covered and refrigerated several hours.)
AARP food expert Pam Anderson is a best-selling cookbook author and blogger at threemanycooks.com.
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