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.
Bleu cheese chive
Mash together four tablespoons softened butter with four tablespoons crumbled blue cheese. Stir in four tablespoons finely chopped chives and half a 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 five minutes. Serve with butter and an additional sprinkle of Old Bay.
Cook one slice of bacon per ear of corn. In a food processor, crumble the bacon and process until finely chopped. Add one tablespoon of butter per ear, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and half teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Spread on hot corn on the cob.
In a small bowl, whisk together one tablespoon Dijon mustard, three tablespoons red wine vinegar, a hefty pinch of salt and black pepper, three tablespoons olive oil and two tablespoons chopped fresh thyme. Drizzle over the corn.
Spread half a cup ground almonds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until golden and toasted, about eight minutes. Allow to cool. Mix in two tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon and a quarter teaspoon kosher salt. Coat each hot ear of corn with butter, then roll in the almond-tarragon mixture.
Husk six 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.
Finely crumble half a cup smoked feta cheese. Mix in two tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeno peppers. Coat each hot ear of corn with butter, then roll in the cheese and pepper mixture.
Whisk together one tablespoon water and two 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, olive cream
Mix two tablespoons minced Kalamata olives, two tablespoons minced green olives, a pinch of saffron and a pinch of black pepper into a quarter cup mascarpone cheese. Spread over hot corn on the cob.