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Corn with Seasoned Butter

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One of the easiest vegetables to grill is corn-on-the-cob. It is always sweetest the moment it's picked - and it goes rapidly downhill from that moment on. Buy your corn fresh from the farmer, if you can, and cook it as soon as possible.

We soak the fresh-picked ears in a pitcher full of water - they go in as soon as we get home from the market, and they stay there until they go on the grill. Leave the husks on, and don't worry about the silk - it will burn up on the fire.

The corn takes about 15 mins to cook, so when you're ready to put it on, start it directly over a medium fire (you can keep your hand 4 inches off the grill for about 5 seconds) and don't worry if the husks and silks begin to burn. Rotate the corn slowly until it looks like most of the silks are burned away, and the husks are charred and curling back on the edges.

Move the cobs to the cooler side of the grill and rotate them so they each get to spend some time closer to the heat. After about 10 mins, remove them to a platter, and serve as soon as possible.

To serve, we peel the husks back, and cut them off at about 2 inches long. Then, we top each cob with a big pat of seasoned butter. It just doesn't get better - until the next night, when we use the leftovers in Roasted Corn Soufflé. Be sure and cook three or four ears extra for leftovers!

How to Make Seasoned Butter

This very easy technique is used in fancy restaurants to make vegetable dishes extra-special. Warm one stick of butter on the counter (don't microwave it - the heating is uneven and you get patches that are more liquid than others - you want a warm, smooth consistency). Then add salt and pepper (about 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper). The rest is up to your imagination - use about 1 tsp of mild seasonings such as dried parsley, oregano or thyme. Use about 1/2 tsp of stronger spices such as ginger or garlic. Use even less of the Big Boys like curry or cayenne. To really kick it up, add about 1/2 tsp of citrus zest. Stick to one spice and one type of citrus. Here's an example:

On corn, we like salt, pepper, fresh thyme and lemon zest.

On carrots, we like salt, pepper, ginger, and orange zest.

Stir your seasonings into the warm butter, mixing it very well and making sure there are no lumps of seasoning. Plop the butter out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and pushing the butter into a line, roll up the plastic wrap, making a "log" of butter. Twist the ends tight, and tuck them under. Put the log back into the fridge and chill it well. To serve, simply slice off a round pat of butter and place it on the hot vegetables. Voila!

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