It’s wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realized it was possible to season corn. I thought the only thing you could do with corn was put butter on it. Then, on Christmas my cousins were visiting and they wanted to watch the hilarious and ridiculous movie Nacho Libre. The movie is about a monk who secretly moonlights as a wrestler and sometimes when he and his sidekick are about town they eat a seasoned Mexican corn on the cob. That movie has stuck with me in many ways, and one of them is that corn doesn’t have to be plain.
Corn on the cob is one of those great tastes of summer. It’s August though, so summer is starting to wind down and I’ve been thinking about what foods I want to have (or over indulge on) before the season is over. Corn was definitely one of them. I associate corn on the cob with meals outside – either a crab feast at my parent’s house or outside on a patio at the beach.
I think about coming home from a day out in the sun, shucking the fresh corn and no matter how careful you are strands of silk always get on the floor. Then, when it’s time for dinner and you take just one cob to start with. As the sun starts to set, everyone is full and happy. There’s a glow from the sunset and a glow from eating and drinking a bit too much and you pick at the leftovers. And then you do it, go for just one more corn on the cob. Because why not? Soon corn will be out of season and you’ll have to wait for summer again. And now I really want to go the beach and have a feast outside.
In the summertime I love grilled corn because you can get those caramelized burnt kernels that are a little crispy and taste sweet and bitter at the same time. I don’t have access to a grill though, so I had to try something different. The whole aim of this corn experiment was to season the corn, so I definitely couldn’t boil it if I wasn’t herbs to stick to the corn. So, I decided to roast the corn.
Of course, roasting means that I then have to turn the oven on. And turning on the oven makes the whole apartment hot – but that just adds to the authentic summertime feel right? But, roasting them you can get a little bit of that caramelized flavor during cooking. There won’t be any char, but I did have some areas where the kernels got darker and sweeter.
Now classic butter is a great addition to corn on the cob. It served me well for nearly 25 years. But this recipe takes butter and amps it up a notch. Spicy cilantro lime corn on the cob might sound like it’s doing a lot – but it’s a great combination. The taste is fresh and bright from the citrus and herbs but with a nice tingly cayenne pepper heat that lingers on your lips. The flavor is bold but not at all overpowering so it’s easy to pair with other foods. And of course, there’s still loads of butter.
Most importantly, this corn is so easy to make. All you do is mix the seasonings into the butter, slather the butter onto the corn, and then roast the corn. It’s easy people! It elevates the basic recipe for corn on the cob to something a little bit more special, and something great to serve to family and friends. So make some corn, get outside, and enjoy these last few weeks of summer.
Adapted from Food Network.
Messy level: You aren’t going to have to do many dishes with this recipe. However, I found that actually making this recipe can be quite messy. I think it’s easier to mix the butter and seasonings with your hands and then also use your hands to slather it on the corn. For me, that makes the seasoned butter more uniform and allows you to completely and lavishly cover the corn. Few dishes, but greasy hands. It’s a trade off.
- aluminium foil
- 6 ears of corn
- 1 stick/113 grams of butter
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Rip off six sheets of aluminium foil. Make sure each sheet is large enough to wrap up an ear of corn. [Note: You can do this step later, but it's best to do it early so you can put the buttered corn directly onto the foil and not anywhere else]
- Remove husks and silk from ears of corn.
- In a small bowl, using your hands or a fork, mix together the butter, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Mix until everything is uniformly blended.
- Divide the butter in 6 equal pieces. It will be about 1⅓ tablespoons for each piece of corn. Slather each ear of corn generously with the butter mixture.
- Wrap each cob individually with aluminium foil.
- Place on a baking sheet. Leave at least 2 inches in between each cob. If you crowd the cobs it will take longer to cook.
- Bake the cobs in the oven for 30 minutes. The corn will be hot and steaming!
- Remove from the aluminium foil and let cool slightly. If you'd like more flavor, sprinkle a little extra cilantro, zest, cayenne, or salt on top of the corn - whatever will please your palette!