A few days ago my husband and I ventured outside our home to eat on the patio of a favorite restaurant. It was the first time we had dined out in six months, so we splurged and chose the lobster rolls with house made potato chips and coleslaw as our main course. My spouse ordered fried oysters for his opener, while I picked fried corn on the cob with beurre blanc and crumbled feta. The corn turned out to be my favorite dish of the evening.
We still have bins of corn in our local markets here in Amherst, so I decided to create a simpler version of the dish I enjoyed so much. For the original served at The Blue Heron in Sunderland, Massachusetts, a single ear of fried corn was cut into three equal portions, then set upright atop a pool of lime-scented beurre blanc. Crumbled feta and cilantro sprigs made simple garnishes. A small sharp knife was included so you could cut the kernels from the cob. Beurre blanc, a classic French sauce made by whisking bits of butter into a reduction of shallots, wine, and vinegar, takes only minutes to make, but requires some technical skill.
So, when I decided to prepare the dish at home, I opted for a simple butter scented with lime, cilantro, and garlic (in place of the shallots). I parboiled the ears of corn but left them whole, and then fried the ears quickly in a skillet. Crumbled feta and chopped cilantro remained as garnishes.
The lime butter can be prepared a day ahead and the corn blanched several hours in advance. At serving time you’ll need only to fry the corn, brush the ears generously with the butter, and then sprinkle them with feta and cilantro. Serve the corn as a starter or as a side to grilled steaks, chicken, or salmon. Like me, maybe you too will want to have one last fling with corn before those ears disappear!
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Fried Corn on the Cob with Lime Cilantro Butter and Crumbled Feta
Lime Cilantro Butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt plus extra if needed
6 ears of corn, shucked
Canola oil for frying the corn
3 to 4 teaspoons chopped cilantro for sprinkling
1/2 cup crumbled feta for sprinkling
1.For Lime Cilantro butter, in a medium bowl use a fork to blend butter, lime juice, cilantro, lime zest, garlic, and 1/8 teaspoons salt. Taste and add extra salt if needed. (Butter can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature to soften before serving.) Makes about 1/4 cup butter.
2,Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. and have ready a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add corn. Cook until tender 7 to 10 minutes. Remove, drain, and when cool enough to handle, pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. (Corn can be cooked 2 hours ahead. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave at room temperature.)
3. Coat the bottom of a large (10- to 12- inch) heavy skillet with a film of canola oil, and set it over medium high heat. When oil is quite hot, add as many ears of corn as will fit comfortably in the skillet. Fry, turning several times with tongs, until corn is lightly charred on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove to the baking sheet and place in preheated oven. Repeat with remaining ears.
4.To serve, brush ears generously with Lime Cilantro Butter, then sprinkle with cilantro and feta. Pass any extra feta in a small bowl. Serves 6 with one ear of corn each.
Lime Cilantro Butter is adapted from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking by Betty Rosottom (Chronicle Books 2004).
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2020