Corn on the cob is a necessity at picnics during the summer and fall and certainly has a standalone taste and juicy texture that complements a wide range of meals. However, if corn on the cob with a little butter and salt is too plain for your taste, consider these five ideas for taking this side dish to the next level:
1. Develop creative toppings
You can go in pretty much any direction when it comes to creating a flavorful topping for corn on the cob. Buzzfeed compiled a list of 15 corn on the cob recipes that includes ideas for creating Taiwanese grilled corn, Mexican street corn, Jamaican street corn and even a grilled corn crostini. You can top your corn on the cob with everything from guacamole and lime to parmesan cheese – the options are limitless.
2. Go off the cob
Just because you cook corn on the cob doesn’t mean it has to stay there. Use a knife to cut away the kernels, which can then be used in a savory cowboy caviar, fresh salsa, salad topped with shrimp or served alongside rice and beans.
3. Put it on the grill
Few things epitomize American cooking techniques more than a grill loaded with meat and veggies. Boiling or baking corn on the cob is fine, but you won’t be able to get those desirable char marks that come from the grill.
4. Infuse your butter
Even if you just want old-fashioned corn on the cob slathered with a little butter, it doesn’t mean you can’t develop complex flavors. Infusing butter with herbs, spices, fruits or other ingredients can provide an extra kick to this classic side even if you’re a traditionalist. Take for example these six recipes for flavored butters courtesy of Southern Living.
5. Wrap it in bacon
If you want to give your corn on the cob a salty, savory flavor and vary up the texture, nothing does the job better than wrapping it in a few pieces of bacon. A recipe from Onion Rings and Things notes that it’s best to secure the bacon with toothpicks and make sure to rotate the corn on the cob to ensure all sides cook evenly when you grill it. When making this dish, you could also consider baking it to ensure the bacon cooks evenly, again taking the time to rotate each cob.