Grilled sweet corn on the cob with drawn butter is a traditional celebration of summer at a picnic, a lobster boil, or the county fair.
The young kernels explode with the flavors of the sun as we enjoy this bounty from the earth, and when the excitement and pleasure of the first bites have passed, we might wish we had found a way to spark this wonderful flavor without slathering the beautiful ears with so much fat.
When the butter is drawn, or clarified, and the milk solids removed, we seem to use less. Whether or not this is fact, the beautifully clear liquid that results is a much more appropriate and appealing finish for the ears of corn.
When fresh vegetables are in abundance, there is no reason to stop with just sweet corn cooked on the grill.
A mixed grill of summertime vegetables calls our attention to their virtues of good health and delicious flavor. A quick trip to the farmers’ market and a little preparation result in this beautiful dish.
Roasted garlic marinade seasons vegetables chosen for their color and appeal. They only need to be finished on the grill to complete a very special dinner.
GRILLED SWEET CORN AND DRAWN BUTTER
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
4 ears of sweet white corn
Coarsely ground black pepper
For drawn butter:
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter until foam rises to the top and the milk solids settle at the bottom.
* Remove from heat.
* Using a spoon, carefully skim off the foam.
* Pour (drawn) clarified butter into another small saucepan, being careful to leave behind the milk solids. Keep warm over low heat.
*To prepare the corn:
* Open but do not remove the husks, remove the silk, and close the husks.
* In a deep container, place enough cool water to cover ears of corn. Salt the water so that it tastes like the sea. Soak corn at least one hour, or overnight in the refrigerator.
* Remove corn from the container, and shake off excess water.
* Grill corn indirectly over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, turning several times. Corn is cooked when the kernels are plumped and appetizing.
* Serve with plenty of drawn butter and black pepper.
MIXED VEGETABLE GRILL WITH ROASTED GARLIC MARINADE
These are suggestions, but you will be guided by the shapes and colors of fresh, beautiful vegetables available at the market.
3 ears of corn cut into 4-inch lengths
3 red or yellow bell peppers
6 small patty pan squash
1 Japanese eggplant, white or purple
1 green or yellow zucchini
10 large asparagus spears
1 baby bok choy
8 baby new potatoes, boiled in lightly salted water until almost cooked, but not mushy
2 heads garlic
2 Tbsp plus 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
To roast garlic:
Do this a day ahead.
* Remove as much of the outer papery skin as possible from the garlic heads. Using a sharp knife, slice off the top quarter of the heads to expose the pulp. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over each head. Wrap in foil and roast on medium grill or in oven until pulp is golden brown and tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
* Unwrap garlic and squeeze pulp in food processor, discarding the skins.
* Add remaining 1 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
* Process until smooth.
* Transfer marinade to a lock-top plastic bag large enough to hold all the vegetables.
To prepare the vegetables:
* Remove husks and silk from corn, and cut into about 4-inch lengths
* Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Remove stems, core, and seeds, and flatten peppers with the palm of your hand.
* Trim and cut the remaining vegetables (except potatoes) into manageable sized pieces.
* Leave potatoes uncut.
* Transfer all the vegetables to bag with marinade and toss to coat thoroughly. Allow to rest in refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
* Grill vegetables directly over medium heat, and remove as they are cooked through.