Day 118: Corn Cayenne ♥

Corn Cayenne
A simple, simple way to cook fresh sweet corn, then mix it with a little butter, a little lemon juice (to brighten the starchy corn) and fresh herbs. Summer fresh!

~recipe & photo updated 2010~

2005: Between the shucking and the dekerneling (or if you don't dekernel then the FLOSSING), I always find corn on the messy side. Even though my father's family was from Iowa and we lived in northeastern Iowa when I was a teenager and I was the fourth fifth generation in the family to attend Iowa State, I missed the corn gene and never really entirely understood the attraction. Real Iowans, that is the Iowans who farm, believe that Dad doesn't head for the garden to pick the corn until Mom's got the water already boiling.

This recipe has an unusual cooking technique but -- no question -- it worked fine, even on corn that had been refrigerated since (hmmm, well let's see, maybe last Saturday?) awhile back and so who knows WHEN it was picked? I didn't hold out much hope. But this was good. This was a keeper. This is worth making again.

That said, you know how diet books always say that it's all about calories, that you can get fat on vegetables if you eat enough of them? Recipes like this -- where the taste is delicious but the portion sizes are small -- is what they're warning us about. They're good, yes, they're vegetables, yes. But they should be treated more like a dessert, that is, relished and savored -- but on occasion, not every day.

2010: Back in 2005, I'm not sure how cooking corn in water qualified as an 'unusual cooking technique' but in 2010, I cooked the corn in the microwave, then finished in the serving bowl. Easy! I also dropped the butter way back, to 2 tablespoons per 6 ears of corn and used aleppo pepper rather than cayenne.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 6

Water to boil
6 ears corn

4 tablespoons butter (2005: I'd try two tablespoons next time, 2005: two tablespoons was great)
2 teaspoons lemon juice (2010: a little good vinegar is a good substitute)
Sprinkle cayenne pepper (2010: I used aleppo pepper, a dribble of Tabasco would work too, what you're looking for is a small measure of heat)
Salt & Pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped parsley (2005: the recipe called for cilantro but I used what was on hand, parsley from the garden 2010: I skipped this entirely but any fresh herb would work fine, basil and tarragon come to mind)

CORN 2005: Fill an oblong dish long and wide enough to hold the ears with water about 1 1/2 inches high AND with a cover. (Don't stress on the cover, I forgot to use one and the corn turned out fine though the corn will take longer to cook since the heat is released into the air.) Bring it to a boil. While the water heats, shuck the corn and remove the handles, I mean, the, hmmm, what DO you call those things on the end of the cobs? Oh well. Add the corn to the water and cook for 3 - 5 minutes, turning occasionally since the water won't cover the corn. 2010: Take the lazy cook's route and cook the corn in the microwave.

BUTTER While the corn cooks, collect the butter, lemon juice and cayenne in a skillet and heat until just about to boil.

COMBINE Remove the corn from the water and let cool slightly. When it's cool enough to handle, use a knife to slice off the kernels, keeping groups of kernels intact if you like. Transfer to a serving dish and stir in the butter mixture and the parsley. Season to taste and serve.

2005: Digging in the drawer to find those little plastic corn handles to stick in the ends of hot cobs, I found a kernel removing tool purchased some years ago at a small-town hardware store and tried it for the first time. Here's how it worked.

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~ more corn recipes ~

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I'm sure this would work with fresh corn that I froze in September huh? Except maybe reduce the cooking time a little.

  2. Hi Anonymous ~ Yes, your fresh-frozen corn would be beautiful! Let me know how it goes!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna