WATCH: You’re Probably Boiling Corn the Wrong Way
Our food editor wants to change the way you cook corn.
This summer, I’d like you to forget what you know about boiling corn. Pretend you’ve never even done it before. (Boiled corn? What boiled corn?) Don’t even think about those recipes that have a 20-minute cook time, or that tell you to boil the corn in a pot of butter and milk.
Super-fresh corn on the cob hardly needs to be cooked, let alone boiled. If it’s delicious enough to eat raw, you certainly don’t have to cook the life out of it. Which is why I boil corn for one minute. That might seem like no time at all, but the corn emerges juicy and crisp-tender and retains more of its sweetness and crunch.
Here’s how to do it. Put a big stockpot of water on the stovetop to boil. Add several pinches of salt. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, shuck the corn and discard the husks. Once the water is at a full rolling boil (it must be rapidly boiling, with big bubbles), carefully place each ear of corn in the pot. Set a timer for one minute. When the timer goes off, drain the corn into a large colander set in the sink. It’s practically a dip in the sauna.
If you like your corn buttered—and who doesn’t—try this easy method: Return the empty stockpot to the stovetop over medium heat and add ½ tablespoon of salted butter per ear of corn to the pot. Let the butter melt, then return the hot, drained, ears of corn to the stockpot and stir them around in the pot with tongs until they are evenly coated with melted butter. Transfer the buttered ears of corn to a platter and sprinkle with more salt if you wish.
Whether you eat the corn straight off of the cob, or slice off the kernels to use in recipes, you'll be surprised at how much of a difference a short cook time makes.