Sweet Corn on the Cob…My Way


Sweet corn season is here.  In many places really good sweet corn can be had, like farms markets, road side stands and even Wegmans!  I don’t know about you but when I only am making one or two ears it seems silly to fire up a tall pot of water.  I do steam the corn which only takes an inch or so of hot water but still…too much to do.

Three summers ago, on a hot day, I realized there was a quick and easy way to make an ear…or two without that big hot pan of water and steam. I just take a large frying pan, put a quarter inch of water in it, sprinkle of salt and let it heat until bubbling.  I then lay in my ear or two which I have husked and removed all the silk.  Then the pan is topped with a lid or an empty pizza pan if your frying pan is too big for your lids.  Cook it the usual time; depends on how fresh the corn is.  The fresher your corn ears, the less cooking time you need.  The steam in the pan will cook it really fast.  Maybe 6 to 8 minutes.

And the bonus is that if it runs out of water your ear will get a bit of carmelization going which only adds to the flavor.  In fact I hope it gets browned a bit; sometimes I rotate the ear to brown it on another side.  Remove with tongs when your corn reaches the done stage you like.  Sometimes I take a quick bite to test for eating readiness! corn 004

Serve your ear(s) with salt and butter and enjoy fresh corn without heating the kitchen up much.

PS: when I camp I like to try new ways and old ways to cook stuff. We had corn that was fire baked in the ashes made by fruit wood; very tasty and we had corn I griddled/steamed on the camp stove.  The camp stove corn had a foil tent to somewhat keep in moisture.  But I have to say it still dried out more than I like, almost like freeze dried and reconstituted corn. The same thing seems to happen when I cook ears on my charcoal grill.  The fire baked corn is created by getting the ears wet; soaked in a bucket of water and then buried in a small layer of hot ashes for about 20 minutes.  You risk some char but that’s okay. The rest of the ear is just delightful. Maybe I will try foil this next camping trip; with a bit of water in there to help the ears steam.  Will keep you posted on my results.

Revised from a post originally published in 2016.

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