For those of us fortunate enough to live where sweet corn is grown, corn on the cob is one of the delights of summer. But what is the best way to cook it? The method I use has changed over the years. I started out by bringing a large pot of water to the boil, adding the shucked corn, bringing it back to the boil, putting on the lid and turning off the heat. Ten minutes later, it was ready to eat. Slathered with butter and salt, it was delicious.
Friends of mine simply microwaved the corn: two minutes for one ear; five minutes for two ears. This method produces corn that is excellent, but somehow I don't find it as satisfying as the next method, grilling.
Grilling corn on the cob has the great advantage over boiling of not heating up the kitchen by bringing a large pot of water to 212 degrees and over microwaving of adding more flavor, but the process I followed was time-consuming. First you pulled back the husks, removed the corn silk, replaced the husks, and then soaked it for twenty minutes or so. I grilled the ears on low heat for about seven minutes, turned each ear 180 degrees, and grilled for another seven minutes. The grilling added some flavor, and I no longer cared about adding butter. The only drawback was that husking the grilled ears left flakes of charred husk scattered around.
Recently, I read somewhere--I am sorry I can't give credit either to the writer or to the magazine--about a variation on this grilling method. The article said that it wasn't necessary to remove the corn silk or to soak in water. I was skeptical about putting the ear directly on the grill, but I tried it. This method does in fact work, and work well: the outer leaves get charred, but the corn is delicious. I should note that it cooks faster this way, so check it after five minutes or so to see if it's ready to turn over.
The article also claimed that it isn't necessary to shuck the ear. Instead, after grilling, use a sharp knife to cut through the ear approximately at the bottom row or so of kernels (which of course are covered up by the husks). Working from the sheared end, the article claimed, it's much easier to remove the husks and corn silk. That also turns out to be correct. There are no charred remnants that the breeze invariably blows into other food.
Caroline eats it as is with no seasoning; I add only some ground pepper. Either way, corn grilled this way is simple perfection.