Grilled White Corn with Spicy Cilantro Butter

roasted corn
Don’t let Orville Reddenbacher fool you – corn was meant to be grilled.   This spicy yet cool corn is the perfect accompaniment for grilled meat or fish.  However, just because corn is a side dish doesn’t mean it needs to take the back-seat in flavor. 

Makes: 5 ears
Total kitchen time: 20 mins

Shopping List:

  • 5 ears white corn, shucked
  • 8 tbsp. salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. red cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Jamaican jerk seasoning (or your favorite spicy seasoning blend)
  1. Preheat your grill over medium heat.  Place the corn directly on the grill and close the lid.  Grill, turning occasionally, 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mash together using the back of a fork.  If you’re making this recipe in a larger quantity, you may want to prepare the butter using a food processor.
  3. When the corn is almost done (check for tenderness with a fork) brush it on all sides with the cilantro butter and grill for another 1-2 minutes. 
    corn butter

This cilantro butter also makes great grilled toast, and can be added to shellfish, chicken, or white fish for a wonderful, simple seasoning.

Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon with Orange-Muscat Beurre Blanc

cedar plank salmon After grilling fresh Coho salmon fillets over cedar planks, its hard to enjoy salmon prepared any other way.  My building’s facilities manager, Bruce, generously shared his catch from a recent trip to Alaska.  This recipe combines the rustic, smoky flavor of the cedar planks with the subtle, sweet butteryness of the beurre blanc.  Its a great combo, as I hope you will soon discover.

Total kitchen time: 1 hr
Makes: 4 1lb fillets

Shopping list:

  • 4 1lb. salmon fillets (with skin is fine, without is fine also)
  • 2 large (or 4 small) cedar planks for grilling
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp. orange-muscat vinegar (honestly, any white wine vinegar will work, this one just adds a little flavor and a lot of adjectives.  Available at Trader Joe’s.)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into teaspoons
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  1. Soak the cedar planks, completely submerged, in cold water for at least 1 hour.  Preheat your grill over medium-high heat before grilling.
  2. For the beurre blanc, heat a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the diced shallot and about 1 tsp. of olive oil and cook until the shallot smells great, about 3 minutes.  If it looks like the shallot is starting to brown, reduce the heat.
  3. Add the white wine vinegar (in this case, orange muscat vinegar) and stir to deglaze the pan.  Continue to cook until the vinegar has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and 2 teaspoons of butter.  Continually whisk the butter until it is completely melted.  If the butter starts to foam, place the bottom of the pan on a cold surface (like a stone countertop) to cool it.  Add the remaining butter, 2 teaspoons at a time, whisking continually.  If the butter refuses to melt, hold the pan over very low heat for a few seconds and then remove. 
  5. Once all the butter is incorporated, taste the sauce and adjust with a fine-grain salt and freshly ground white pepper.  You can use black pepper if you want, but white pepper will make the sauce look prettier.
  6. Prepare the salmon fillets by patting them dry and coating with salt, pepper and fennel seeds on the flesh side.  Rub the fillets on all sides with olive oil. 
    salmon meal
  7. Make sure your grill has been preheated over medium-high heat.  Arrange the cedar planks on your grill and place the fillets, skin side down (if they have skin) on the cedar planks.  Close the lid and grill for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish is fully cooked.  The planks will give off a lot of smoke which adds to the excellent flavor.  However, if your planks should catch fire, simply spray them with a small amount of water (I recommend San Pellegrino :-)) until the flames dissipate. 
  8. When the salmon is cooked to your preferred doneness (let’s face it, either it’s undercooked, done, or overcooked), use a long spatula or a chef’s knife to remove them from the planks.  Top with a spoonfull of the beurre blanc and serve!

Look for more cedar plank recipes this summer.  I’m now a big fan of this cooking method and it deserves some further exploration.  Do you have any favorite wood cooking recipes?  Leave ‘em in the comments below.

Go Grill a Pizza

pizza on the grill
If you asked me my favorite thing about summer, you could be sure that my answer would involve the words “grilling” and “pizza”.  Grilled pizza is an excellent easy supper, especially when you’re cooking with friends.  Go get some pre-made, uncooked dough and a few of your favorite ingredients and dive head-first into your relationship with the grill.  In the pizza above, a simple red sauce, some prosciutto, porcini mushrooms and fresh mozzarella make a great dinner.  Or, if you’re feeling less traditional, try out my other grilled pizza suggestions.