It's hard to improve on the delicious simplicity of summer perfect corn on the cob slathered with butter and sprinkled with salt.
But we figured we'd give it a try anyway. And we quickly learned that fresh corn is a splendid foundation on which all manner of flavor combinations can be built, from sweet (check out the Fluff masterpiece below) to savory (bacon, anyone?) to spicy (chili lime!). So use our list as a starting point and see how many directions you can go with your corn.
BLUE CHEESE CHIVE BUTTER
Mash together 4 tablespoons softened butter with 4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese. Stir in 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Spread on hot corn on the cob.
OLD BAY BOIL
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season heavily with Old Bay Seasoning. Boil husked ears of corn until tender, about 5 minutes. Serve with butter and an additional sprinkle of Old Bay.
Cook 1 slice of bacon per ear of corn. In a food processor, crumble the bacon and process until finely chopped. Add 1 tablespoon of butter per ear, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Spread on hot corn on the cob.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, a hefty pinch of salt and black pepper, 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme. Drizzle over the corn.
TOASTED ALMOND AND TARRAGON
Spread 1/2 cup ground almonds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350 F until golden and toasted, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool. Mix in 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Coat each hot ear of corn with butter, then roll in the almond-tarragon mixture.
Husk 6 ears of corn, skewer with long skewers, and coat lightly with cooking spray. Grill over medium-high until tender and lightly charred, turning frequently. Spread each ear of corn with a couple tablespoons of marshmallow spread (Fluff). Turn the grill flame up (or use a campfire) and toast the marshmallow on all sides.
SMOKED FETA AND PEPPER
Finely crumble 1/2 cup smoked feta cheese. Mix in 2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeno peppers. Coat each hot ear of corn with butter, then roll in the cheese and pepper mixture.
Whisk together 1 tablespoon water and 2 tablespoons molasses. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat 4 ears of corn with the molasses mixture. Sprinkle all over with purchased or homemade jerk seasoning. Grill over indirect heat on well-oiled grates until tender.
Spread cooked ears of corn on a platter. Sprinkle with fresh lime juice, finely grated lime zest, ground cumin, minced serrano chili and salt.
SAFFRON AND OLIVE CREAM
Mix 2 tablespoons minced Kalamata olives, 2 tablespoons minced green olives, a pinch of saffron and a pinch of black pepper into 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese. Spread over hot corn on the cob.