Baked buttered corn, photos by Donna

I posted this photo last September and was going to repost the actual post, shouting the joys of baked buttered corn, but deleted it by mistake!

So I’ll have to write it again.  I thought of this post and this dish because, having endured the sadness of finding a squash in my CSA, I’m realizing the changing of corn from tiny, tender and sweet, to fat and starchy, is yet another bittersweet sign of summer’s passing.

A way to bring some happiness to the end of summer is to take this corn and simply bake it with butter.  It’s fabulous.  The starchy corn juices create a virtual custard and the long high heat transforms the flavors in a way that a quick boiling of the starchy corn can’t.

I use the Lee Wooden Corn Cutter, above.  It goes against my advice to rid your kitchen of unitaskers—it’s quaint, goofy, and really works.  I use it a few times a year, and I love it.  If you don’t have one, I’m sure a box grater and a knife would work fine, or just a knife for that matter.

I use a mixture of cut corn and juices and whole corn cut from the cob at about a 3 or 4:1 ratio.  (Don’t forget to use your cobs to make corn stock–it’s fabulous base for soups!). So four ears of corn grated, and the whole kernels from one ear.

Put the corn in a baking dish or Dutch oven (choose a vessel that will give you about a 3-inch depth), add some chunks of butter (the above dishes have about an ounce apiece), salt and pepper, and bake in a 400 degree oven until it’s bubbling hot and a golden brown crust has begun to form, about 45 minutes (you can dry them out, so don’t over bake).  For variation, add cayenne and season at the end with lime juice.

Really delicious, really easy, the best way to use corn as it heads out of season.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Corn is my favorite time of year.

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46 Wonderful responses to “Baked Buttered Corn”

  • Nancy

    I ran across this method a few years ago, made some for myself and then lickety-split rushed over to my best friend’s kitchen and made some for her. It was an epiphany. Out of season we sometimes think about adding “stuff” (herbs, cheese, etc.) but when we actually make it, we never do – just butter, salt and pepper.

  • Heidi Cool

    Sounds yummy. My grandmother used to make a similar dish on the stove which she called “scored corn.” Instead of using the corn cutter you have, she used a board that had a row of tiny nails sticking up on one side of the hole and a straight blade (not super sharp) sticking up on the other side of the hole. As you scraped the corn across the device the nails would open the kernels and the blade would push the inner bits of the kernels through the hole leaving the thin skins of the kernels on the cob.

    One then put the corn bits into a saucepan with butter, heavy cream, salt and pepper. It was cooked down until it had more of a goopy pudding consistency (rather than the soupy texture of creamed corn.) Naturally it was very labor intensive and one had to process many ears to get enough to eat, but the flavor and texture were superb. Since the skins were removed there wasn’t any of the chewiness you get in some corn recipes.

  • Nancy Singleton Hachisu

    Hey, where was this post when I was ruing the starched out corn in our field? That’s OK, next year will come soon. I’m not a gadget person either and use a sharp knife to cut off the kernels, but I’m loving that Lee Wooden Corn Cutter. Very cool. I’ll have to google it.

    And I don’t know why I never thought of using corn cobs for a soup base. Perhaps because we don’t do soup in the muggy Japanese summer…but I will rethink that. I do freeze the corn kernels at their height of flavor thinking I’ll use them later, though never do (except for occasional school lunches)…the next vegetable is always around the corner, you know.

    As always, I learn a lot from your blog and after all these years of cooking, I don’t often say that.

    Thanks.

  • Paul

    This is tangential and it may not make as much of a difference in baked corn but my wife and I have nearly stopped eating fresh corn … its just too damn cloyingly sweet. The corn flavor has near been bred out replaced by even more high fructose corn syrup … natural in this case but just too sweet. I yearn for the day when real corn comes back like heirloom tomatoes have. Sighhh.

  • Susan

    I like the idea of baked corn for this dish. There is a flavor that develops when corn on the cob that has been boiled, is left to sit too long in the boiled water. or when the water is reused to boil more corn. It’s why I never order corn when we eat out unless it’s grilled out of the husk. The flavor is kind of grassy and has an overdone, off flavor that I taste, kind of like that of canned corn. That’s all the discription I can summon to describe this flavor. Could it be the cob that’s adding this or just the starch in the corn mixing with some mineral in the water? I can’t figure it out.

  • Richard

    Susan, your corn is probably over-cooked if it’s sitting in that water. I’ve noticed it too when I over-boil corn.
    Too hot here for fresh corn right now, as the high temps kill the pollen before it can reach the silks. We should have some come October as long as it doesn’t freeze. One thing we do have plenty of right now is okra, and I’ll be putting up around 8 pints of pickled okra on Monday.

  • Cookin' Canuck

    I’m always disappointed when corn reaches the inedible stage at the end of the summer. This, however, gives me hope that I can “eek” some life out of those ears that would otherwise be destined for the compost.

  • Lael Hazan

    I’d not seen the corn cutter previously and have always made due with a knife! The cutter is brilliant and easy. I guess I know which gadget is next for my kitchen. Thanks for a great post.

  • Rhonda

    Looks delish. I wonder how many people have taken your cue to eat corn on the cob for breakfast? I did, and I must say, very good idea, Ruhlman.

    I too am filled with ennui over the recent abundace of squash.

    Yup, that’s me. Filled with ennui :) Okay, maybe not…

    More simply said; I am dreading it (squash and root vegetable season) and dreading the limitations of winter. More honestly, I will be missing the tomatoes and basil — and well, summer.

    I will be officially pissed off when the media starts pushing butternut squash or pumpkin filled pasta recipes (always with badly made brown butter sauce), or worse yet, are the soups. I will do roasted beet and gorgonzola paves (maybe twice) and then, time to

  • Rhonda

    Last thought got cut off…

    …Take a holiday to warmer climes and then come back and embrace winter.

  • Steve

    What do you mean by: “I use a mixture of cut corn and juices and whole corn cut from the cob at about a 3 or 4:1 ratio”?

  • CopyKat Recipes

    This looks like a wonderful way to prepare fresh corn, I am going to give it a try very soon. I am always looking for a unique way to prepare fresh corn.

  • Gay Judson

    Sounds great. You don’t say to cover while baking but the photos indicate that you did use a lid. What is the story?

    • ruhlman

      boil corn cobs in enough water to cover and strain. you will be amazed. add a sliced onion if you’re feeling hyper.

  • alane

    Michael–You’re a lifesaver! I’m the chef for a meal site in Providence and I just ok’d delivery for a massive donation of corn. This is perfect. Thanks!

  • bunkycooks

    I use this tool all the time! I love the fact that it cuts corn from the cob in different ways. I like the creamed corn version (I did a post on that one).

    We had freshly picked corn tonight and it definitely is starting to change. It was mealy at the top and a bit starchy. It is so sad to see the seasons change.

  • NancyB

    This IS a great way to fix corn & you can grate the corn a few hours ahead. I put mine in individual tart dishes in the fridge covered with plastic wrap, then popped them into the oven for about 30-40 min. just before serving. Who would believe baking just butter & corn would result in something so delicious. I’ve fixed it for company & they were crazy about it & could hardly believe it was so easy.

  • Thor

    Great recipe!
    I’m working on some corn ice cream this weekend to take to a Labor Day party.

  • Ed

    ” . . . cut corn and juices . . .” Could you use a blender or food processor for this part?

  • JoP in Omaha

    It looks like the secret to the success of this dish might be using that particular cutter. The cutter does the shredding, right? What tool can be substituted? A course box grater, maybe? I have a mandoline that has a setting where teeth come up for julianning. Would that be a suitable substitute?

      • Jim Dedmon

        So I made the corn recipe tonight and it was the first time I ever used a box grater on corn on the cob. If you do this a rain parka and maybe a drop cloth would be good!

        My modifications, I put the cut corn, some chives and the butter in individual soufflé dishes and baked them for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Then I put some parmagian bread crumbs on the top and baked for 15 minutes longer. It was amazing but a bit rich, a tangy side dish or maybe less butter would help.

  • Pat

    I can’t remember where I saw it first, but one of the best things I have done with corn is to make tea out of the silk. It is like a cup of hot corn. Fresh and good!

  • Barbara | VinoLuciStyle

    I love your saying, it’s so true; corn IS the best time of the year! I don’t have your fancy box grater but a simple tool with a rounded center and handles that slides down the cob cutting off the kernels. It may be simple but it makes corn dishes like this (and my I could eat it with a spoon corn salsa) so much easier to do so we’ve enjoyed several corn dishes beyond the oh so typical and still can’t be beat…on the cob, butter, salt and pepper.

  • John Bailey

    Michael

    Thank you for putting this up again. Last year I tried and enjoyed the recipe so I kept a copy for this year, but your most recent post motivated me to get it on a plate again! I bought a corn cutter recently, but had not put it through its paces.

    Last night, I did dinner using three different methods. Sous vide back ribs, your corn recipe and microwaved (yes I said microwaved…SORRY but they were a last minute addition) potatoes. The corn was a nice counterpoint to the sauce on the ribs. Actually, it was nearly a perfect flavor combination!

    In the post, you forgot to mention or remind how the combination of a cutter and corn of the cob tends to squirt. Please add apron to the recipe when you put this up next year!!!!

  • *susan*

    SCORE! My Mother-in-Law has the same corn tool that is pictured in the photo. My mother tossed hers years ago about the time she discovered the Green Giant frozen bags of corn with butter-like sauce. (You dropped the plastic into boiling water and miraculously, corn was served.) But my Mother-in-Law never moved after she married, and certainly never threw anything away. She is no longer well, and lives in a nursing home, while her corn tool languishes in her kitchen.

    I have been told that it is mine, if I can find it.

    And this baked corn was totally fabulous! I am stripping tons of corn this weekend to freeze. I think this dish will be the perfect addition to the Thanksgiving dinner menu.

  • Andrew

    Another way to get rid of that zucchini is to shred half and mix in with the corn, then slice and quarter the rest and place it on top. sprinkle with gruyere or parmesan and let it get a crispy cheesy crust.

  • Andrew

    Or! I’m thinking of doing this soon, put the butter corn in the de-seeded seed part of a butternut squash and roast it all together, serve with ravioli in a pesto cream sauce, or risotto ooh man I love fall

  • Nan

    I think we Buckeyes love fresh corn. Although I’m more than ready for cooler weather it’s so sad to see the season end. I just wrote a post about frying corn (my preferred method of dealing with the more elderly ears) including a few corny memories of family. I have the same corn cutter… works great. I’m going to definitely bake the next batch of leftover corn on the cob.

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