5 Ways to Liven Up Corn on the Cob

Now, if you have fresh, sweet, summer corn that's straight from the market, there's no need to liven it up, really. It's perfect just cooked plain with some butter and salt. But maybe you've eaten it 22 times in the past month and want to add a little oomph. Or maybe you're just not a purist when it comes to corn. Well, here are some easy things you can do to make it pop (pun intended)...

Don't forget, by the way, our tip for microwaving corn. It takes three minutes!

And now for ways to jazz it up:

1. Grill it—with the butter already on. We know many of you are already grilling your corn along with your burgers and steaks. But we saw this great tip in Martha Stewart Living (can't remember if it was in a back issue or a recent one...): Peel back the corn husks, but leave them attached to the base. Remove the silks and slather each cob with butter (herb butter is even better). Pull the husks back up to cover the corn and tie them into a little knot at the top to keep them closed. The butter will keep the kernels moist and seasoned while they cook on the grill.

2. Top it with crumbled cheese. You've probably seen this at Latin American restaurants: corn covered in a fluffy white cloud of delicate cheese. It's delicious, and it's easy. Crumble some queso fresco into tiny pieces on a large platter. Brush the cooked corn cobs with butter and roll in the cheese. Maybe squeeze a lime over the top. Or follow Sara Kate's instructions for grilled corn with balsamic vinegar, parmesan, and fresh mint.

3. Sprinkle it with smoked paprika. Corn and bacon are great partners. Smoked paprika tastes like bacon.

4. Glaze it with barbecue sauce. While your cobs are cooking on the grill (without their husks), baste them with barbecue sauce so that it creates a nice, smoky, sweet glaze. To make this faster (and reduce the likelihood that the sugar in the sauce will burn), we'd blanch the corn in water beforehand. Try our recipe for Sweet and Tangy Homemade Barbecue Sauce.

5. Treat it like a baked potato. Drizzle sour cream, sprinkle diced onion or cheddar cheese, crumble some cooked bacon... Any of those toppings you'd normally see on a "loaded" baked potato would be good on corn. Just don't overdo it, or you'll forget you're eating corn in the first place.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, of course. There are all kinds of herbs and seasonings you can put on corn (lime and chile powder is a classic combination). What do you do?

Related: Mystery Gadget! Squeezy Handles and Spiky Ring

(Image: Flickr member Tavallai, licensed for use under Creative Commons)