Ears to you, summer corn!
June 19th, 2012
04:30 PM ET
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Scorpacciata is a term that means consuming large amounts of a particular local ingredient while it's in season. It's a good way to eat. David LeFevre is the executive chef and co-owner of Manhattan Beach Post in Manhattan Beach, California.

Like Garrison Keillor said, “Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn."

Sweet corn evokes memories of my summers on the East Coast with my grandfather and the wonderful meals that my grandmother would make with the corn that my grandfather and I had picked, shucked and cooked.

When corn season comes around, it is always an exciting time in the restaurant. We focus on a few key things when we are cooking with corn: the best quality product, a fresh product, minimal cooking time so as to not lose the fresh sweet flavor, proper technique, and making sure to remember it’s a fun, down-and-dirty experience to eat it.

First and foremost, it is important to start with a great ear of corn. Never buy corn that is refrigerated! That means you should check the quality at the market or store*. Peel back the top outer layers and silk of the cob to make sure it has even rows and no signs of bugs. You can even take a kernel off and taste it to see if it's sweet.

My grandfather taught me when I was young the importance of freshness with corn. First, he would put a huge pot of salted water on the stove and turn the gas on high. We would then get in his car and drive the half mile to my great uncle's to pick 12-18 ears of corn. On the drive back, I had to clean the ears in the car into a paper bag. Once we got home, my grandmother would have all of dinner ready - except for the corn.

david lefevre

The water was boiling by then and we would drop the corn in the water and cook it for 3-5 minutes, just until it was cooked through but not taking away any of the sweetness. It was awesome; he would eat that corn like a typewriter with kernels flying everywhere! I am not saying you have to do this, but you should cook and eat corn as soon as possible because it will be less sweet as time passes.

Remember: Corn tastes pretty darn good raw, you don’t need to cook the hell out of it. I prefer to cook corn until it is just cooked through, like most of my vegetables. If you are boiling it too long, you will lose flavor. If you grill it too long, it will get dry and starchy. If sauté it too long, it will become almost chewy.

Cooking technique is important because improper cooking can ruin even the greatest ear of corn. I prefer corn that is cooked with moisture. That can be done several ways: cooking it on the cob in seasoned boiling water, cutting the kernels off and lightly sautéing them with butter, or cooking the whole cob - leaves and all - over a live fire.

Lastly, do not worry about getting your hands dirty. Get in there and get butter and corn kernels up to your elbows. When I think of eating corn, I immediately envision butter on my cheeks and wet corn leaves on the back of my hands. It should be visceral and fun like ribs, fried chicken, or watermelon.

Wood-Fired Corn


  • 6 ears of corns, with stems
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6 Tablespoons Parmesan, grated
  • zest of 3 limes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • Butcher's string

Cooking Directions

  1. Peel back the outer leaves of the corn, but leave them intact with the stem of the cob.
  2. Remove all of the interior silk (Fun fact: there is one strand of silk for every kernel of corn!) and soak under water for 30 minutes.
  3. Combine the butter, Parmesan, lime zest, cayenne pepper, salt, cilantro and garlic in a food processor.
  4. Pulse the ingredients until they are well mixed, but not to blend them to a smooth purée.
  5. Take half the butter mixture and spread it evenly onto the 6 corn cobs, on the rows of corn kernels. Reserve the rest of the butter mixture for later.
  6. Turn back the outer leaves of the corn cob to cover the buttered rows of kernels and return it to its original shape.
  7. Using butcher's string, tie the ears so the outer leaves protect the kernels.
  8. Grill over a wood fire at medium heat for approximately 8-10 minutes or until the corn kernels are soft and tender.
  9. Cut the butcher's string and remove them while keeping the charred leaves intact..
  10. Place the cobs on a platter and serve to guests with the remaining butter mixture for seasoning, along with bibs and loads of napkins.
  11. Guests should be able to turn back the outer grilled leaves and eat the corn holding it by the stem.

*Editor's note: Not everyone agrees with the practice of opening ears at the market, arguing that exposure to the air shortens the the length of the corn's freshness. See if your market has a policy in place before you land in hot water with the management.

Previously - Simply ear-resistible: A grilled corn tutorial and Growing corn at home

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Filed under: Bite • Corn • Ingredients • Make • Recipes • Scorpacciata • Summer Vegetables • Vegetables

soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. AGeek

    Sex with him must involve sandpaper or something. I cannot fathom the circumstances required for a statement saying sweet corn is better than sex to be regarded as true – or even remotely accurate if you squint your eyes just so.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:27 am |
  2. Scott2211

    I knew as soon as I saw the topic of this story the post would be funny. My eyes are still watering from laughing. I like corn but really better than sex? Someone needs to stop eating corn and work on their sex life because the day I say corn is better than sex I might as well cut off my manhood.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:56 am |
  3. Mike

    “Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn"?

    That just means you're not doing it right.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:00 am |
  4. MMR

    Whenever someone claims something is better than sex, I just thank my lucky stars that's not the person I have sex with.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:25 am |
  5. Acckk

    I immediately envision butter on my cheeks and wet corn leaves on the back of my hands About here is where I puked a bit

    June 20, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • Biff

      Since I highly dislike corn, I would disagree.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:31 am |
  6. SayWhat

    Either I dont know how to fix corn or he dont know how to screw

    June 20, 2012 at 4:11 am |
    • Chaz


      June 20, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  7. Rusalochka

    I gather Garrison Keillor never had voluntary sex before.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:42 am |
  8. Mark Glicker

    Grew some Indian Corn as a kid. It was awesome. Now it is probably called Native American Corn.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  9. Dirk Diggler

    What the crap is wrong with sticking a crapping cob of corn up your crapper?

    June 20, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Eman de Riuqer

      What's wrong is that corn, like most food, is supposed to pass from the plate or hands, through the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, large intestines, rectum and then anus IN THAT ORDER.

      If you try to skip any steps, or run the whole thing backwards, flavor suffers, the nutritional benefits are substantially reduced, and there is even a chance of grievous internal injury. It's up to you, if you want to place things in your bottom, but realize most of prefer to EAT corn, not carry it around in our pants, so to speak.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:31 am |
      • momo

        Hahahaha! Well played!

        June 20, 2012 at 7:20 am |
      • BosMonkey

        well said :)

        June 20, 2012 at 8:39 am |
      • So Sue Me

        My favorite post in recent memory. Kudos.

        June 20, 2012 at 9:45 am |

        Very funny.

        August 13, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Confused

      Give me a nice big hard and juicy cob of corn slathered in butter anyday and I'm in heaven!

      June 20, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • vulpecula

      If it gets you to leave the gerbils alone, go for it.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • hannah1

      You are sick and disgusting

      June 20, 2012 at 7:31 am |
  10. LouAZ

    Sick !

    June 20, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  11. Mouth

    So I rolled over this morning, took one look at my wife and boiled some sweet, sweet corn...
    I was corny... said the vegifile.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  12. trailerpark fred

    butter on your cheeks?
    what hole are you sticking that there ear of corn in boy?

    June 20, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  13. Cool tricks

    Take a whole ear of corn, cut off the fat end. Place the whole ear, (yes silk and leaves) in the microwave for 4 minutes (per ear). Using oven mitt, hold ear at top, by the silk and leaves and the cob will slide out with no silk on it, and it will be perfectly cooked. Trick no. 2. For a large number of people at a picnic: Place your cleaned ears in a cooler, cover them with boiling water, put the lid on it. In 10 minutes all your ears will be cooked and ready to go.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • yummydrfood

      Cool! I totally hate picking silk out of my bum.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:20 am |
  14. Richard

    If the envirokooks and Exxon have their way, the only corn you'll be eating will cost $10 an ear, or you'll be drinking it as ethanol...

    June 19, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  15. Cringe

    REALLY CNN?! This story has nothing to do with sex!!! Yeah your manipulations are working, the only reason I read this article was because I thought somehow there was a connection between corn and sex. You're not good at reporting real news and your headlines parallel the National Enquirer. I am ever more quickly losing respect for your endless opinion articles and trashy, misleading titles.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  16. Corn is just ok

    The link to this article (and the article itself) epitomizes everything that is wrong with CNN nowadays. Didn't CNN used to be....respectable?

    June 19, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  17. yummydrfood

    Oh I get it! He shoves it up his poop chute, huh?

    June 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  18. brian

    all kidding aside people should listen to FARMERS post.He gets it.Nice to see at least one other person who was able to read between the lines.I would go one step further and say the GMO corn actually dulls the sex drive.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • VladT

      So we should now be accepting fears as scientific fact? How does it dull the sex drive, or because ti was made in a lab "it must be the reason we are unhealthy," not the sedentary lifestyle, lots of soda, no veggies, etc.

      OCCUPY EATOCRACY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      June 20, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • BS

      Yes, and vaccines cause autism. Oh wait, no, they don't. That's right, just because you make something up and say it with authority doesn't mean it's true.

      June 20, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  19. Ocie

    Sounded like a health article at first.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  20. dalbert

    proof how brain dead our society has become

    June 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  21. MOJO

    "it’s a fun, down-and-dirty experience to eat it."


    June 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  22. Tara

    If I ever come to love any food more than sex...I hope I am not too fat to fit my finger into the trigger guard.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • techgirl64


      June 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Jeff

      Same here!

      June 20, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • vulpecula

      Enjoy it while you can, because at some time after you've done it thousands of times, It just willl never be as good as it use to be. And by the way, you sound so totally pussywiped.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:56 am |
  23. David in Bixby

    We have the best corn in the world in Bixby, Oklahoma but I promise I would much rather have a little sex than some sweet corn.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • hannah1

      Only you cave men think so

      June 20, 2012 at 7:35 am |
      • BosMonkey

        And only the prudes, ultra-conservatives and fatties would think food is better. If the emotional and physical connection is greater to food than sex, there's something wrong.

        June 20, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  24. Tom

    If only it really were.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  25. Fritz Hohenheim

    I guess that slogan was invented by a married man

    June 19, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • MOJO

      Actually it was be a married woman.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  26. rg500g

    Yes, I would trust Garrison Kellior to favor corn over sex. In Garrison's case though, I fear that the ear may be going elsewhere than his mouth, though who knows, maybe he eats the corn after it's appropriately 'seasoned'.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  27. Jballs

    Nothing makes a man orgasm like sweet corn...........

    June 19, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  28. Mittens Romnutts

    Corn hole? Who said anything about a corn hole?

    June 19, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • techgirl64

      BAA HAA!!!!!!

      June 19, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  29. James PDX

    You're either doing sex wrong or you're doing something dirty with the corn.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  30. John1425

    That is such a corny statement.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  31. Jonathan Dawson

    Only a Virgin would say that ______ is better than sex. Everyone else who's done it KNOWS that sex is completely Incomparable; like NO other experience in your life.

    It's like they say, Sex is like the Matrix: No one can tell you what sex is like. You have to experience it for yourself.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Eman de Riuqer

      Yeah, and if you have sex after you take the RED PILL, you find out how deep her "rabbit" hole goes, if you have sex after you take the BLUE PILL... you find out how much her hole can tollerate!

      Sorry, couldn't help it. If you start mixing sex and The Matrix, eventually the connection between the blue pill, and "the little blue pill" will assert itself in the conversation.

      And before I run off to make some corn, I agree with all those here who state for the record that no food is better than sex... if you think it is, you're not doing something right. Try having sex with someone else, before deciding any kind of food is better. If you run through two dozen people, and you still think any type of food is better, maybe you need to read a book, or something. Or try (or have your S.O. try) the "blue pill".

      June 20, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • hannah1

      Yeah. Been there. It's nasty, gross and disgusting!

      June 20, 2012 at 7:33 am |
      • BosMonkey

        ok, now I will add germaphobe to my statement above. ;)

        June 20, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  32. Smarterest Human

    Ya...ummm...you must be having really bad sex if you prefer corn.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  33. Erik

    Yeah, I'm a corn fed Iowa kid, but sorry, I'd rather bang my girlfriend that eat corn.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • JohnnyAnonymous

      Agreed. Anyone that says corn is better than sex obviously isn't doing it right....

      June 19, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Shelikesmemore

      I don't know... I've been banging your girlfriend for a while and I honestly would rather have some good sweet corn. Sorry about your luck.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • hannah1

      See? You're the reason we girls agree with Keillor!

      June 20, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • I agree...

      Yeah, I'd rather bang your girlfriend too.

      June 20, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  34. Country boy

    Apparently Keillor was not doing it right.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  35. Farmer

    Just make sure you're buying corn directly from a farmer and not the crap in stores. Monsanto GMO sweet corn hit the shelves this spring and due to the lack of labeling laws no one knows the garbage they are consuming. Guaranteed the corn in supermarkets is Roundup- Ready sweet corn, meaning it has been doused with pesticides since germination. Thanks but no thanks. Demand to know what's in your food people.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • culling garden due to bt

      i just found out that the guy adjacent to me in the community garden is using bt (sold by gardens alive). they think "organic" means safe. it doesn't. i am dependent on growing my own food due to severe allergies to corn and i have been suspicious of something wrecking something in my gut for many years now. will most likely have to cull my entire crop. i can't stay away from contamination. perpetually sick.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
      • culling garden due to bt

        it makes sense to me that we are chronically ill in this country.

        June 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
        • Jim

          Do you know what BT is? It's a natural bacterial predator of various caterpillars. How's that going to ruin your crop?!!!

          June 20, 2012 at 12:29 am |
      • BS

        culling garden due to bt,

        BT is a bacteria that attacks certain types of caterpillars. It is in no way harmful to you. What a waste to cull your crop due to a nonexistent threat. The bacteria likely couldn't even travel from the farm to your garden, anyway!

        June 20, 2012 at 9:03 am |
        • Worms-are-not-Bugs

          He probably likes a little meat with his corn!!

          June 20, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • MOJO


      June 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • BS

      No offense, but GMO corn has been around for a long time. And your local farmer is using it, too. Corn is actually one o the cleanest vegetables (in terms of pesticide/herbicide residue) since it's protected by the husk.

      June 20, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • BS

      Farmer–I question the intent of your comment. You clearly don't even know what you are talking about. What does pesticide use have to do with being "Roundup Ready"? Roundup is not even a pesticide.

      June 20, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  36. Freeman0331

    Tassels are showing in the garden!!!

    June 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  37. CrackerBox

    Guess he's hittin' the wrong cornhole

    June 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  38. Sam

    Corn better than sex? Time to find a new partner.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  39. Miguel White

    Wow, my sympathy to you, the sex you have had must have been the worst imaginable.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  40. J-max

    The first sentence is about sex. The second recounts a memory of the author's grandfather. That seems fishy.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  41. maizeman

    I agree with the author. When I get sweet corn in front of me, it brings back all those good memories. We were poor, 5 kids to feed, and we made many meals in the summer time revolving around the garden. When Mom said "go pick enough sweet corn for supper", it was not surprising to have us bring back 3 dozen ears. Swarth a piece of bread with butter, salt and pepper. Wrap it around the corn ear and work it like a brush. Eat the corn, then the bread - making my mouth water already. lol

    June 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Mittens Romnutts

      Get a job, Freeloader Socialist!


      Mittens Romnutts

      June 19, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  42. cwestions

    "My grandfather taught me when I was young the importance of freshness with corn."

    It would have been more apt to teach the young man the importance of sweet ass as opposed to sweet corn. Corn is better than sex? Sounds like someone's in need of a good shtupping.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  43. Guy, Wise

    So what happens if you have s_x with an ear of fresh sweet corn – shangri-la ?

    June 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  44. Gearloose

    I agree that fresh sweet corn is great, but.......

    June 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  45. sativa619

    Mmmmmm middle America redneck porn food. Please. If you people were having anywhere near the lifestyle we do in CA, corn would be a non-factor.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • VladT

      I read that it was once believed that Trolls have an aversion to fresh corn. Must be true.......

      June 20, 2012 at 7:50 am |
  46. Hale

    Like Garrison Keillor said, “Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn." : Need better sex.

    June 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  47. Darthlawsuit


    June 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  48. ron jeremy

    Better than sex?? I'm sorry, you're doing it wrong!

    June 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Matt

      he's just a virgin who likes eating GMO products.

      Real corn eaters know that you should not be eating yellow corn at any time – that is unless you enjoy Monsanto products.

      June 20, 2012 at 10:25 am |
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