It's time to get corny with use of flavored butters

Festive: Corn on the cob with flavored butters, featuring chili, lime, garlic and more, is a delicious treat for the coming weekend's celebration.

June 30, 1999|By Sara Perry | Sara Perry,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Hands down, the Fourth of July is the biggest and best summer holiday. It's a day of family reunions and early traditions that become more delicious and meaningful with each generation. It's starting your own tradition with your favorite sizzling barbecue, corn on the cob and America's best strawberry shortcake. It's hanging Uncle Mark's 1956 souvenir flag from a pole, a porch or a window. It's the day to create your own extended family with friends and neighbors or a homesick colleague.

Anticipating the day makes it even more fun, especially with crafts and projects that everyone can make. Idle days disappear when beaming kids surround the kitchen table, deeply absorbed in the busy work of stamping stars and painting stripes. On the big day, you and your kids will feel the same button-bursting pride as the early patriots when they waved their star-spangled banners.

Grilled Cornon the Cob With Flavored Butters

12 young tender ears of corn

flavored butters (recipes follow)

Carefully pull husks back on each ear, but don't tear them off. Pull out corn silk and discard. Pull husks back over each ear and tie securely near tip with torn strip of corn husk or kitchen string. Soak prepared ears of corn in basin of water for 1 hour. (This will keep husks from burning on grill.)

Prepare fire in charcoal grill or preheat gas grill. Place corn on grill rack over medium-low fire and grill, turning often, until cooked, 15 to 20 minutes. To check for doneness, remove 1 ear, pull back husk and pierce 1 kernel with knife tip. Juice should be milky. Remove from grill and serve immediately with 1 or more flavored butters.

Chili-Lime Butter

Makes 1/2 cup

small ancho chili (see note)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted room-temperature butter

grated zest of 1 lime

cayenne pepper, optional

Remove seeds from ancho chili. Wear rubber gloves when handling any chilies because volatile oils can cause burning sensation on your skin. Place chili in warm water to cover 5 minutes to soften. Drain and mince almost to paste. (This can leave a stubborn stain on your cutting board so wash board immediately.) Reserve 1/2 teaspoon paste for butter. Discard rest or wrap tightly and freeze for another recipe.

In small bowl, using hand-held blender or fork, combine butter, grated zest and reserved minced chili until blended. (For more spice, add dash of cayenne pepper.) Proceed as directed in Tarragon Butter recipe at right.

Note: Ancho chilies can be found in Latin American markets and well-stocked supermarkets.

Roasted Garlic Butter

Makes 1/2 cup

large garlic head

olive oil

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted room-temperature butter

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Remove papery outer layers from the garlic head. Cut off about 1/2 inch from top of head and discard. Place head in center of 10-inch square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap garlic in foil and twist top to seal. Bake at 450 degrees until pulp is soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Squeeze pulp from garlic cloves into small bowl. Add butter, lemon juice and salt. Proceed as directed in Tarragon Butter recipe below.

Tarragon Butter

Makes 1/2 cup

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted room-temperature butter

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

In bowl, using hand-held blender or fork, combine butter, tarragon, Dijon mustard and salt until blended. Spoon butter onto piece of plastic wrap and shape it into small sausage. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm. For longer storage, wrap a second time in foil. To use as sauce, slice off a round and let it melt on hot food. To use as spread, let butter warm to room temperature.

Pub Date: 06/30/99

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