Wheatless Wednesday – Grilled Corn on the Cob with Herb Butter

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Nothing says summer like fresh sweet corn.  Add herbs, spices and butter, then grill corn right in it’s own husk for a delicious treat!  Corn is an interesting crop in that it is considered both a vegetable (when you eat it as corn) or a grain (when it is popped as popcorn) so it deserves props for diversity as well as providing nutrition and lots of much needed fiber.  Corn is flavorful on its own, especially while it is in the peak of its season.  This is the time of year when it has the best flavor, is the least expensive and locally grown varieties are widely available. Since much of the corn produced today is genetically modified (GMO), purchase organically grown corn to avoid GMO corn. If you want to know what is wrong with GMO foods, click here.

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Grilling corn is easy and fun.  You can just throw them whole on the grill or you can season them first with a yummy herb butter.  Pull the husks down, without removing them from the cob, and remove the silky threads.  Then soak the cobs in cold water to keep the husks from completely burning and to provide enough moisture for the corn to steam.  Without the soaking, the corn will be chewier but still tasty.  Then liberally spread the corn kernels with butter, herbs and spices and close the husks back up.  Tying the husks closed is optional.  If you like charring, then leave the husks slightly open.  Grill for 15 minutes or so, turning every 5 minutes until all sides are charred.  Pull back the husks and enjoy!

Grilled Corn on the Cob

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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8 ears fresh corn on the cob (unshucked)
2 sticks butter, softened
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, oregano or parsley), chopped
1 tsp creole seasoning (or 1 tsp salt plus a dash of chili powder)
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)

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  • Pull the outer husks down the ear to the base. Strip away the silk from each ear of corn by hand. Fold husks back into place, and place the ears of corn in a large container of cold water (or kitchen sink filled with cold water) for 20 minutes to an hour.  This step provides extra moisture to steam the corn and keep the husks from completely burning.
  • Combine butter, garlic, herbs and spices in a small bowl. Set Aside.

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  •  Remove corn from water and shake off excess.  Pull husks back down and spread corn kernels liberally with herb butter.
  • Pull husks back into place and tie closed with a string (optional).

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  • If you don’t have string you can tie with a long piece of husk or just grill without tying.

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  • Place the corn on the grill, close the cover and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.

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  • Remove the husks and eat on the cob or remove the kernels. Serve with any remaining herb butter.

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Wheatless Wednesday – Maine Lobster Bake

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Maine is famous for it’s lobsters and summer is not considered complete here without at least one old fashioned lobster bake.  Traditional lobster dinners include lobster with drawn butter, corn on the cob and steamers (Ipswich clams) and sometimes potatoes or eggs, often served on these inexpensive, but iconic, blue platters that mimic retro diner tablecloths.   I tried lobster for the first time on my first trip to Maine, way back when my husband and I were just dating.  He went to summer camp in Maine as a kid and he has many fond memories (and good friends) and still loves to come here.   I’m pretty sure he brought me up here all those years ago as a relationship test, which luckily I passed with flying colors.  I learned how to eat lobster, waterskied in Bear Pond and slept on a cot in one of the old cabins, three actions which, I’m sure, made me marriage worthy.  My three sons followed in their father’s footsteps and consider themselves Wigwammers to the core, first as campers, then as counselors.    It’s no coincidence that we have a house across the lake from Camp Wigwam and come to Maine as often as possible.  It’s a little slice of heaven on earth.

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We were lucky enough to be invited to an authentic Maine Lobster Bake that was catered by our friend, Tom DeLois.  He provided and prepared everything, freshly procured that morning, including the seaweed which they gathered by boat from the ocean.  I was not involved in the preparations in any way, except for taking lots of pictures to document the process, which is simple but takes some effort.  It’s also a great way to feed a large group in a casual but festive manner.

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This technique can easily be done on the beach but we used a flat gravel driveway.  Just use something to elevate the cooking surface, a flat metal sheet or galvanized tub.  Layer your chosen ingredients with seaweed and  light the fire.  Tom and his crew were veterans and really knew what they were doing.  I have to admit it was nice to have someone else take care of dinner…

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In an effort to minimize damage to the area, they cleared the gravel down to the bare dirt, then set up the cooking area with four concrete blocks and a metal tray.  They stacked layers of wood and newspaper.  The four metal sides(on the ground in the photo) are to block the wind if necessary.

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The first layer is wet seaweed which they collected themselves from the ocean.

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Next is bags of clams (steamers), lobsters and foil wrapped red skinned potatoes.

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Topped with raw eggs and corn on the cob.

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Wrap everything tightly with aluminum foil.

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Finish with another thick layer of wet seaweed.

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Light the fire and cook about 45 minutes.  TIP:  When the eggs are hard cooked, you know it’s done.

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The unveiling…

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One of the nice things about a traditional lobster bake is the leftovers!  The next day I made a composed salad with the remaining lobster, eggs, potatoes and corn cut off the cob.  I added some chopped tomatoes and scallions and arranged it all on a bed of fresh romaine.

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I also made a big pot of clam chowder with the leftover clams and potatoes.  I sautéed a couple of chopped onions and garlic in butter, then added chopped potatoes, vegetable broth and milk and cooked it all for an hour or so until it’s slightly thickened.  Add the clams toward the end and cook another 20 minutes or so on low heat.  Don’t let it boil or the clams will get touch and chewy, like rubber bands.  Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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