Grilled Summer Corn

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I can feel my hair sucking up the moisture in the air, looping into fat ringlet curls and resting against my forehead. As we stroll up the beach at half past five, it’s becoming clear that this probably wasn’t the best morning to wake up early and watch the sunrise.

“It’s eerie, isn’t it?” Curt asks, his hands in the pockets of his shorts as he looks up and down the empty beach. “The fog makes you think of a ghost pirate ship or something.”

The Weather Channel assures us that the sun is going to rise at exactly 5:36 a.m., but we probably won’t see anything other than slightly less gray skies until at least the afternoon. Curtis tucks the big beach towel under his arm as we head back to the car. It’s not a big deal – at less than a mile from the front door to the shore, we’ll come back on a clearer morning to complete our tradition of watching a sunrise over the ocean together.

On the drive back, we see a ton of wildlife – two proud goose parents and their crowd of fuzzy, awkward-teen goslings, a big-eared fox, and a great blue heron on the side of the road, slurping up a small snake like a strand of spaghetti. Our early morning adventure has gotten us out of the house just as nature is breaking its fast.

I love the simple joys of summer – seeing the sunrise (or trying to) with Curt, iced coconut coffee from my favorite coffee shop on the boardwalk – when it comes down to it, I’m pretty easy to please, especially from Memorial Day to Labor Day. But my all-time favorite summer pleasure has to be locally-grown sweet corn.

Having grown up in Central New Jersey, I’m something of a corn aficionado. Nothing says summertime to me quite like corn on the cob. As a child, I was happy to munch away at ears fresh from a pot of boiling water, coated in a thin layer of butter and sprinkled with salt. As an adult, not too much has changed – but now, I prefer it with the gentle char from the barbecue and a pat of Earth Balance or coconut oil.

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When I had braces as a teen and couldn’t dig my choppers into the cob, my mom used to slice the kernels off in big slabs for me to eat it with a fork. I thought it tasted so much sweeter this way that despite being brace-free for over a decade, I still prefer my corn this way. Plus – no pesky corn skins stuck in your teeth!

When you’re choosing your ears, peel the husk back a few inches and prick one of the kernels with your thumbnail. If the kernel squirts a milky juice, it’s going to be ripe, sweet, and ready to eat!

Grilled Summer Corn
makes 4 ears

4 large ears of corn

1. Heat your grill to medium.

2. Peel the husks back and remove the silky threads from the corn (running water helps the process). Gently fold the husks back over the corn and submerge in a large bowl of cold water for 10-20 minutes.

3. Shake off any excess water and place the ears on the grill. Close the lid and cook for 25-30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so until the kernels are tender and yield easily to a paring knife.

4. Remove from the grill and serve with Earth Balance, coconut oil, lime juice, salt, and/or a sprinkle of chili powder.

Nutrition per 8-inch Ear, without condiments: 123 calories, 2g fat, 27g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 5g protein.

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