Corn on the Cob with Chile Butter

With flavored butter, you do virtually nothing and everyone is impressed.
TIME 15 to 20 minutes
MAKES 4 servings
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, softened
1 tablespoon minced fresh hot green chile (like jalapeño)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ears fresh corn

1 Put the butter in a small bowl, add the chile and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and stir until well combined.

2 Peel the husk from the corn and remove as much of the silk as possible. Break or cut off the stem.

3 Put a large pinch of salt in a stockpot with enough water to come 1 inch up the sides, then add the corn; it’s okay if some of the ears sit in the water and some sit above it.

4 Cover the pot, put it over high heat, and bring to a boil. The fresher the corn, the less you want to cook it, so start checking about 3 minutes after the water boils. You want the corn hot and just tender, but not tough, so don’t let it go longer than 10 minutes. To serve, drain the corn, then smear the ears with the chile butter.

  • 5 Compound Butter Flavors. For plain-cooked vegetables, meat, fish, or poultry, add the following to 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter:

1 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herb leaves (like parsley, chives, cilantro, dill, or sage)
2 1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimentón) or curry or chili powder
4 2 tablespoons chopped capers, olives, or anchovies (you probably won’t need salt)
5 1 to 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

  • As everyone knows, super-fresh corn is best, so get it from a farmstand or farmers’ market if you can. (Some supermarkets get frequent deliveries too.) Look for ears with taut green husks and soft, supple silks; they should feel firm, even up at the top.
  • You can shuck corn up to 3 hours in advance; put it in cold water to keep the kernels from drying out.
  • The cobs will stay warm and tender in the pot for up to 20 minutes after cooking.

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