Fancy butters glide onto hot ears of corn

August 03, 1994|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

One twentysomething friend called me a few days ago to ask for help with a party she was giving her best friend. The young hostess was concerned about the food and was calling for menu advice. Simple, unfancy dishes, especially ones cooked over a grill, were what she envisioned for her fete. Could I offer suggestions, she asked. Together, we outlined a meal.

For appetizers, there would be barbecued shrimp in their shells, served with a spicy dipping sauce. The main course would include grilled lime-scented chicken, steamed green beans, sliced tomatoes, and corn on the cob with three flavored butters. A cheesecake with fresh berries would end the night.

The seasoned butters for corn on the cob were an idea we thought of during our conversation. One butter would be combined with diced sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil, another with cumin and cilantro, and a third with garlic, Parmesan cheese and thyme.

Although the butters are delicious served over piping hot corn on the cob, they could also be spread on slices of French bread or corn bread. And they would be equally good tossed with pasta or rubbed on grilled or roasted chicken.

Betsy's Corn on the Cob with Three Butters

SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND BASIL BUTTER:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (see note)

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried

1/4 teaspoon salt

CUMIN-CILANTRO BUTTER:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/4 teaspoon salt

GARLIC-PARMESAN BUTTER:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

2 tablespoons grated imported Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

CORN:

16 to 24 ears of corn

To prepare Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Butter, combine butter, tomatoes, garlic, basil and salt in mixing bowl and mix well. Place butter in small ramekin or bowl and refrigerate.

To prepare Cumin-Cilantro Butter, combine butter, cumin, cilantro and salt in mixing bowl and mix well. Place butter in small ramekin or bowl and refrigerate.

To prepare Garlic-Parmesan Butter, combine butter, garlic, thyme, rosemary, cheese and salt in mixing bowl and mix well. Place butter in small ramekin or bowl and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, cook corn in batches in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain. Arrange hot ears of corn upright in basket or mounded in large bowl. Place seasoned butters in ramekins around corn. Each butter recipe makes about 1/2 cup or enough for 16 to 24 ears of corn.

NOTE: If you use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drain them well and pat dry. If you use dried tomatoes, drop them in boiling water 2 minutes to soften, drain and pat dry.

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