Simple Provisions

Food does not need to be fancy to be celebrated

The first ears of corn appeared in the green market last weekend, nudging strawberries and peas out of their starring roles and sending them back to the chorus. Corn at the market heralds the arrival of Summer, which means the city is gearing up for Fourth of July celebrations.

Fireworks will rise and explode over the Hudson, basking New York City in a red, white and blue glow. We’ll all stand around a grill, hot dog in hand, celebrating America, and the bar-be-que season (or ‘barbie’, if you’re speaking Australian).

Every grilling feast requires side dishes to provide levity to the charcoaled meat. When I saw corn in the market this week, I immediately craved a cob lathered in mayonnaise and cheese with a squeeze of fresh lime and a dusting of chili. But this can be rather difficult to eat while juggling a paper plate and glass of wine at a party. So here’s a spin on Elote, Mexican corn on the cob, ready for elegant consumption at July 4th celebrations.

This recipe uses roasted corn kernels. Although nature packaged corn perfectly for eating with our hands, taking the kernels off the cob and roasting them is worthwhile. It brings out the natural  sweetness of the corn by removing excess moisture during cooking, which results in beautifully caramelized, golden and flavorful kernels with a bit of crunch.

How To Roast Corn Off The Cob

How To Roast Corn Off The Cob (without kernels flying all over your kitchen)

  1. Remove corn husks and as much silk as you can with your hands. Rub the corn with a kitchen towel to remove the remaining persistent silk.
  2. Stand the corn in the middle of a wide, shallow bowl, holding it upright with a firm grip. Take a sharp chef’s knife and slice down the cob, removing the kernels. Rotate the corn and repeat until you’ve removed all the kernels into the bowl.
  3. Freeze your naked corn cobs to make stock another day.
  4. Toss the corn with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  5. Place in a 200C/400F oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the corn is a lovely golden colour and the edges are just getting crisp.
If you can resist eating the corn directly from the baking sheet, then the next bit is easy. Use one ear of corn per person, and adjust other ingredients proportionally. One ear usually yields about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of kernels, so use that as a guide if you’re using frozen corn.  The queso fresco (Mexican “fresh” cheese) can be replaced with feta or even parmesan if that’s what you have on hand.

Roasted Corn With Cheese and Lime

Serves 4 as a side dish. 20 minutes to cook, 10 mins to prep and present.


  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons queso fresco, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice and lime wedges to serve
  • Cayenne pepper to taste


Follow the instructions above to roast corn.

While the corn is still hot, stir in mayonnaise. The heat melts the mayo which coats the corn to bring out the flavor. Stir in the lime juice then top with cheese and a generous pinch of cayenne pepper.

Serve with lime wedges, either immediately or make-ahead and serve at room temperature.

Other ideas for roasted corn:

  • Combine with red onion, coriander (cilantro), lime and chili and stir into mushed up avocado for a twist on guacamole.
  • Grill some peaches and mix with roasted corn, coriander, red onion and rocket (arugula) for a Summer salad.
  • Add to couscous with roasted garlic and spring onions as a side salad for grilled meat.
  • Add to corn bread for a smokey flavor.

Do you have other ideas for roasted corn off the cob?

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8 thoughts on “How To Roast Corn Off The Cob

  1. dyefeltsool says:

    Mmmmmm, that sounds so yummy!

  2. OK, I’m ready for summer now. Tell it to hurry up.

  3. kcmcginnis says:

    I’m from Iowa, and we are just entering into sweet corn season now. You really don’t need to do anything to make Iowa sweet corn corn insanely delicious, but these recipes look great! Thanks!

  4. abundancia77 says:

    Yum…very much lime juice,,….

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