Friday, July 8, 2011

Grilled Corn with Spiced Butter

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend! I made a last minute decision to fly out to Seattle and go to Chelan which was amazing. It was a short trip but now that I have been there it feels like summer has officially started. My family doesn’t really eat a lot of red meat but we always make burgers for the 4th. Since I make them so infrequently, I am not an expert and I usually adopt a different approach for the meat each year. This year my mom talked me into keeping things simple and not adding anything to the ground beef (in the past I have added egg, onion, garlic, etc.). The result was delicious. I think the key is to handle the meat as little as possible, otherwise it will get tough. Of course, even if you completely mess up the burgers, they will still taste good if you cover them in goat cheese and caramelized onions!
As a side dish I decided to make some grilled corn. The recipe appealed to me because so much of the preparation can be done ahead of time. Our barbeque is pretty small and we have to grill things in shifts, so usually the corn gets cold while we wait for the burgers to cook. The corn in this recipe can be grilled up to a day in advance, then warmed with the spiced butter at the last minute. The original recipe calls for tasso (smoked Cajun pork) but I substituted pancetta because the two grocery stores in Chelan do not tend to carry exotic items. The corn was also very very spicy- I have cut down on the amount of cayenne in my adaptation below but you can adjust according to your preferences.

Grilled Corn with Spiced Butter
recipe from Fine Cooking
2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
1 oz. tasso (smoked Cajun pork)(or pancetta), minced (1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. sweet pimentón (smoked paprika)
1/2 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. ground mace
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
8 medium ears corn, shucked
Kosher salt
In a small bowl, mix the butter, tasso, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, honey, mace, sage, cayenne, and thyme until well combined.  If using pancetta, cook it over medium heat for about 10 minutes until crispy.  Let it cool before adding it to the butter.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for direct cooking over medium (450°F) heat. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until tender and browned in spots, about 20 minutes. (The corn can be grilled 1 day ahead.)

Cut the corn kernels from the cobs. In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, melt 2 Tbs. of the tasso butter. Add the corn and toss until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to a warm serving bowl, garnish with a dollop of the remaining butter, and serve immediately.

Mandy and her best friend Fudge sleeping in the middle of the kitchen while I was trying to cook dinner
Cousin Watson was wide awake

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