One of the perils of city living is that when the temperature rises, there is little respite. I have lived in most of the major cities along the northeast coast, so I can officially attest to this. Growing up in the suburbs, we could easily escape to our neighborhood pool where my sister and I spent many summers on the swim team. Or just sit on the deck in the sun. And while I love the excitement of living in a city, the hundreds of options right outside my doorstep, the (relatively easy…well, in NY) public transportation, the culture, the art, the vibrancy, I do miss having a large kitchen and easy access to an outdoor grill.
Granted, I fully believe that like washing dishes and taking out the trash, grilling should be largely relegated to men. But miss it nonetheless I do, or at least the authentic flavors. I have made do in many of my apartments, and I think I’ve done a decent job adapting. I once actually made an entire Fourth of July barbecue on a collection of George Foreman grills (culled from friends and neighbors).
While it’s not quite corn season yet, I have recently been making corn-on-the-cob in my oven and if I may brag, it might not be grilled … but it’s really pretty good.
The technique here is similar to grilling in that I use a high heat in the oven and steam the corn in its husk. After dousing with some butter and salt, cover the corn with grated cheese.
The cheese that I’m loving right now is 5 Spoke Creamery‘s Tumbleweed. This kosher (Kof-K) artisanal dairy had caused a bit of a stir in kosher and non-kosher circles, being mentioned in articles here (along with Sugar River Cheese Co.) and here, and in a recipe for cheese croutons featured in the New Yorker magazine a few months ago by Dirt Candy (a vegetarian restaurant in NY) chef-owner Amanda Cohen. I can’t wait to try her salad recipe, though I’m not sure I’ll actually candy the grapefruit. I’ll leave you to read what others have written about the Tumbleweed, but I would describe it as creamy, European tasting (probably because it is made with raw – aka unpasteurized – milk) if that makes any sense, and with a strong tangy slightly earthy flavor. It has a nice melt-in-your-mouth feel and it spreads well without being too soft. Let it come to room temperature before eating (but if you’re going to grate it, feel free to pull it right from the fridge).
Serves how ever many cobs you make.
– Butter (optional)
– Cheese – such as 5 Spoke Creamery’s Tumbleweed
Preheat oven to 425ºF and put rack in middle of oven.
While oven is heating, pull the husks back and remove silks from corn. Replace husks over corn and wrap end of corn with aluminum foil if necessary to seal so that the corn will steam in its own little packet. Cobs don’t need to be completely covered – the burnt parts are nice…you just don’t want everything to completely dry out.
Place cobs directly on the oven rack and cook for ~20 minutes until corn is tender but still crisp.
Allow corn to cool a bit and then unwrap, peel back husk, and use one or two husk strands to tie the remaining ones together, creating a handle of sorts.
Slather with butter if you’d like, throw on a pinch of salt, and generously grate cheese over the top. Eat immediately.