Corn works so well on the grill because it’s sturdy and contains lots of lovely sugar, which caramelises over the heat and provides a perfect flavour counterpoint for spice, salt and citrus
It’s fun to eat, with great potential for comedy nibbling and all-round messiness. And there’s even a whole world of novelty corn-on-the-cob holders, which – be warned – can lead to some hardcore internet-based timewasting.
Corn is popular pretty much globally, with each region stamping its own flavour profile on to those golden niblets. Here, we’ve compiled a number of recipes that use the various sweet, salty and even alcoholic ingredients favoured around the world.
These recipes come from our editor, who has an enduring love of salty-sweet flavour combinations and is, at the time of writing, made up of at least 80 per cent corn. There are also three toppings for just-grilled corn. The recipes vary in terms of the amount of organisation required, from a two-day prep time to ‘Shit, we have people coming round in half an hour!’All of them hit the spot.
This is an except of the corn ingredient focus from issue 02, buy the issue for more corn recipes
How to: grill corn
There are a few ways to grill corn, including cooking it inside the husk or in tin foil. We prefer the following method, as it results in more chargrilled flavour on the corn and is simpler all round.
•Heat your barbecue for direct grilling, then oil the grill using vegetable or groundnut oil (this is easiest using an oiled piece of kitchen paper held with some tongs).
•Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until it’s lightly charred and tender. This should take 15-20 minutes.
•Each of our recipes makes enough topping for four cobs of corn.
Russian bling corn
Yes, you’ll need to begin this recipe two days before you want to eat it, in order to cure the egg yolks, but it’ll be worth it – wonderful for grating over grilled vegetables, hot or cold pasta or salads (especially a Caesar). If you really can’t be bothered, grate some hard-boiled egg on top instead.
2 egg yolks
Fine sea salt
100ml smetana or sour cream
• First, cure your egg yolks by making a bed of salt in a dish. Make some depressions in the salt, then carefully place the yolks in and cover them with more salt. Cover and leave them in the fridge for 24 hours.
• Wash the salt off the yolks and put them on a baking tray. Cook at 50C for six hours. If your oven doesn’t go this low, you can leave them in the salt mixture for four days to dry out.
• To assemble, smear your grilled corn with smetana or sour cream, grate over some of your hard-earned yolk and top with caviar. You’ll be dining like an oligarch.
Fermented shrimp and chilli oil
100g salted butter
25g fermented shrimp paste
Chilli oil (the kind you buy in Asian supermarkets, with the bits at the bottom and the oil on top)
Fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
• Melt the butter in a small pan over a very low heat and add the shrimp paste. Stir until the shrimp paste has dissolved (it takes a bit of smooshing).
• Serve poured over freshly grilled corn, topped with the chilli oil and fresh coriander.
50g salted butter
100ml beer (experiment with different beers according to your taste, but avoid bland lagers and turbo-hopped brews)
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
• Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the beer and paprika. Simmer gently to reduce by half, then pour over freshly grilled corn.