ffwd: boulevard raspail corn on the cob

Ears o'Corn

It’s August in New England, and corn is at its peak, so are tomatoes. Currently, my husband Howard eats a minimum of two and sometimes up to four ears a day. My digestive system can only handle one ear a day. Nevertheless, during this brief four to six week window of summer vegetable perfection, corn and tomatoes rule our table. Unlike most of America, we eat our corn plain, with no butter. Certainly that helps make four ears of corn daily seem like a healthy choice.

This is the perfect time for this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie! And, this recipe was so simple, not really even a recipe, just a new-to-me method of cooking corn on the cob.

Dorie learned this technique from the patron of a vegetable vendor at the Boulevard Raspail market, one of Paris’ organic produce markets. The vendor spent a long time helping the shopper, and Dorie was impatient waiting in line. Fresh corn is not the most popular vegetable in France. It turned out that the woman purchased some tired ears of corn, which the vendor recommended to roast in the oven.

Whole unhusked ears of corn go into the oven, and forty minutes later, caramelized ears are ready to be shucked and eaten. We only sprinkled the ears with salt and pepper to dress them up a tiny bit, no butter.

Summer Bounty

I’m sure those tired ears were enhanced by this preparation. Certainly, it did wonders for the ideal specimens I cooked. On the other hand, forty minutes is a long time to wait to cook corn, especially for a summer dinner. Usually, our corn spends just a few minutes in the microwave. I’m not sure the difference in taste justifies the longer wait so roasted corn could be a one-hit wonder at my house.

To see what the other Doristas thought of the French market way of cooking corn, check out their links here. We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.


Posted on 23 August 2013, in French Fridays with Dorie, Summer and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I’ve never microwaved corn, but it does sound much easier. I’ll have to try it. Your plate of tomatoes looks delicious. I love summer!

  2. Tracy O'Connell

    How do you microwave corn, Betsy?

  3. I’ll be doing this again on the BBQ – not sure about heating up the oven for just some corn but if I was cooking something else at the same time….

  4. Yeah, I eat my corn without butter, too! If it’s good corn, it doesn’t need a thing :) Was a fun method to try…

  5. Yep, that was my conclusion as well. Though I am jealous of the abundant corn in the US right now. My local produce stand had 8 cobs yesterday – and that’s a lot!

  6. I usually microwave it too, but I was really impressed by how our corn turned out. The inside of the kernel was more cooked and the outside stayed firm. I plan on making it this way whenever I can, but I seem to be in the minority.

  7. I usually boil mine or throw them on the grill…however I really enjoyed this method of cooking. My ears came out perfectly cooked and was enjoyed by both of us! Our corn in Jersey is at it’s peak right now, too! I’m so spoiled with our wonderful produce! Have a great weekend, Betsy!

  8. Yes, 40 minutes is a long time to cook corn. And I did not really taste the difference in texture either. As for my preferred method, nothing beats grilling corn for that smoky flavour.

  9. I was very glad for the cool streak that came along when this was time to be made. Although, I do think I will stick to grilling corn when I have the room.
    Have a great weekend.

  10. I need to try the microwave method. I agree, 40 minutes was a long time to cook corn especially on a hot summer day.

  11. I love this time of the year, corn, tomato salads, everything fresh. Ina Garten has a fantastic
    Sagaponick corn pudding dish that is wonderful, not for dieters, but delicious all the same. Have a
    wonderful weekend.

  12. I agree 40 minutes does seem like a long wait ! Microwaving corn is new to me. after all these posts I definitely want to try that method too.

  13. Four ears of corn a day? Wowee! I also don’t take 40 minutes to cook my vegetables, and 40 minutes for corn is a lot when then are other methods that are quicker and with tasty results.

  14. It’s a lot of oven time for a hot summer’s day, but our weather cooled down on Friday, so I didn’t mind this method. If we had a grill, it might be a different story. You and Howard are more virtuous than we are – we slathered ours in butter before adding the salt and pepper!

  15. I love your two-toned corn – so pretty! Like you, I normally skip the butter, and one ear a day sounds like more than enough.

  16. While I think this was a fun method to try, I believe we Midwesterners do it better – cooking shucked corn in boiled sugar water or throwing it, husks or no husks, on the grill. Still it was good. I’d eat more corn if I didn’t need to slather it with butter. Unfortunately, I do. Yeah, love the tomatoes also.

  17. Betsy, I certainly do envy you (in a totally good way) – the way you describe the fresh corn sounds absolutely wonderful and I would not mind eating an ear or two a day while the peak season for fresh corn lasts – it all sounds wonderful to me. I love it when people are able to use the freshest and most seasonal fruits and vegetables that are available when they cook and bake. Now if I could only find some more fresh corn right now…
    Have a wonderful week, Betsy and “see” you soon!

  18. I didn’t realize what a corn on the cob rut I had been in until this week – not only with the new roasting option, but in reading how others have grilled and microwaved their corn. I will definitely need to do some more testing ;) Hubby and older son leave Weds for Boston….hubby will then go on to Vt that night to check on the house (since he is in the neighborhood as it is only 3 hours away….I’m tired just thinking about it) and return home to get son 2 ready to go to school. I will get up there eventually and will definitely let you know when I do ~. Tricia

  19. I always enjoy looking at everyone’s posts from Dorie’s book. Ypu all have quite a magnificent network of cooks going on here. I popped over to you from Trevor Kensey’s site. What a lovely post, and what a wonderful way to enjoy corn!

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