Monday, July 1, 2013

Raining Corn

One of the sure fire signs of summer* is fresh corn on the cob.  It's amazing roasted over an open fire, or simply boiled according to this classic recipe**:


Even my normally veggie-loathing small children adored the ritual of gnawing their way delightedly along a hot ear of sweet, juicy goodness, usually winding up with a sheen of leftover melted butter gleaming on their grinning faces.

So when this happened:

I'm referring to losing their front teeth, not having to hold a giant slimy toad

It was devastating.
No teeth = No corn.

Wobbly lower lip. Brimming eyes.

Mom with a big sharp knife.
Flick! The cob tilted over the plate. Golden kernels pouring down in a stream into a messy, gloriously edible pile.

Wide, astonished, hopeful eyes.

"Mommy! Can you rain my corn***, too?"

You bet.
As a bonus, I'll bake it with a little butter, and turn it into sweet-salty-creamy-dreamy-almost-better-than-corn-on-the-cob corn.

Moms are magic like that.

Baked Buttered Corn

by Sharon Graves
A brilliant idea from Michael Ruhlman. The fresh corn juice bakes up under high heat to a delectable sweet custard. A great way to serve the toothless, and the rest of your crew, the essence of summer anytime.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • 4-5 ears of fresh corn
  • 1-2 Tbs. butter
  • Kosher or smoked salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh lime juice, optional

Preheat oven to 400.

Remove the husks and silk from the corn. A quick trick for this is to put the whole ear, husks and all, into the microwave and zap on high for 30 seconds. When the corn comes out, the silks will pull away from the corn like magic.

You'll need about an 8 inch diameter oven-proof ceramic bowl/dish with 2-3 inch high sides - something that'll hold all the corn off the cob, with at least an inch to spare.

Using a box grater held over the bowl, gently grate the kernels from all but one of the ears of corn off the cob. This will tend to squirt a bit as you go, so wear an apron and do this in an area where corn juice splashes won't bother you. You should wind up with a lot of milky juice and very fine flecks of corn in the bowl. Using a sharp knife, add the whole kernels from the last ear of corn to the bowl.

Add the butter, cutting into a couple of chunks, and a generous amount of smoked salt (or kosher salt), and freshly ground pepper. Stir well to combine.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a golden brown crust begins to form on top, and the whole thing is bubbling.  This can overcook and dry out, so keep an eye on it.

Serve immediately, with a squeeze of lime juice, if desired.

* As if we need a sign when it is 105 f#$%ing degrees in the shade. Right?
** Song by Hollow Log, a trio that played at the Hollywood Farmers' Market on Sundays when my kids were small, just about the time they started losing teeth.
*** We still call it that around here, over a decade later.


  1. while i do prefer gnawing my corn off the cob, this is an acceptable substitute. i'll bear it in mind when i lose my teeth. :)

    1. Good point! I should have added a "geriatrics" tag to this one...

  2. Another solution for the cobless eaters: turn over a small flat-bottomed ingredient bowl and place it inside a larger bowl; slice off the tip of the ear and set it on the bowl. Slicing it this way keeps the kernels whole and keeps them from flying all over the place.

    1. That's fantastic. Totally using that method next time. Thank you!