rilled corn appears at roughly 100% of our summer cookouts. Most often, a simple mixture of olive oil, salt, and pepper is the perfect coating, as it allows the delicious, sweet kernels to shine. If I want the corn to be the star of the meal, however, this is my new go-to recipe. The key to any great corn dish is choosing the freshest corn, so I’ll offer these tips:
- Look for cobs with moist, tight, bright green husks.
- Squeeze the cob; it should be plump—if it feels scrawny, keep it moving.
- Pull back the husks just far enough that you can check the kernels—you want them fat, milky, and bright.
It’s a good idea to soak the cobs in water for about 30 minutes before grilling them. This will soften and moisturize the husks so they can withstand the heat of the grill without burning or catching fire. Serve the corn in a pool of creamy cilantro sauce so the cobs can be dipped at your leisure. A drizzle of habanero oil and a squeeze of lime add just the right amount of heat and acid.
6 ears sweet corn, husks intact
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Creamy Cilantro Sauce
Charred Habanero Oil, for drizzling
⅓ cup minced fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges
Peel back the corn husks, but leave them attached at the base of the corncob. Remove the corn silk, then wrap the husks back around the corn. Put the corn in a large pot and add the salt. Put a plate on the corn to weight it down, ensuring it will stay submerged, then add cold water to cover the corn. Let soak for at least 30 minutes.
Heat a grill to medium-high.
Drain the corn. If necessary, tie the tops of the corn husks with kitchen twine to keep them closed.
Put the corn on the grill, cover, and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until the husks are slightly charred and the kernels are tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer the corn to a cutting board until cool enough to handle, then fold back the husks to expose the kernels.
To serve, spread some cilantro sauce over the bottom of six medium plates. Place an ear of corn to one side of each plate. Drizzle the corn with habanero oil, garnish with the cilantro, and serve with the lime wedges alongside.