I’ve been preparing this grilled corn side dish quite a bit lately. Our local stores have been selling sweet corn for about 3 weeks or so now. And the ears have been beautiful, with big, sweet, and crunchy kernels. It has me thinking of summer and outdoor dining. Since we live in the desert SW, outdoor dining is a given, even in winter. So, we have been enjoying both; this beautiful corn side dish and the out-of-doors.
Many of the grilled corn recipes out there are either for Mexican street corn, or for corn relishes. This one is more of a warm and herby vegetable side dish. This recipe is versatile. Serve beside the star of the meal, or as a base for grilled or sauced proteins like steaks, shrimp, and fish. I’ve tried them all and have yet to find a bad combo.
I won’t take credit for creating a revolutionary new way of serving grilled corn. The truth is I’m beginning to think grilled corn is like pizza. Once you get used to grilling it, you can probably come up with endless different ways to dress it up. This one happens to be easy, with simple ingredients, and quick to prepare. But it also has enough character to hold its own. Plus, it allows those who have trouble eating corn on the cob to get the taste without the discomfort.
Let’s Make this grilled corn side dish with cilantro and chives
Only four easy-to-find ingredients. Well, five if you count the fresh lime. Why is the lime optional? It depends on what you are serving the grilled corn side dish with.
For instance, our most recent preparation was on the side of a beautifully cooked bone-in ribeye. I definitely used the lime juice that time. But when I serve it with shrimp or fish prepared with citrus already in the sauce, I omit the lime or else the meal becomes too citrus forward.
Place the ears of corn in a dish with raised sides and drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the ears. Then simply shake the dish to roll the ears back and forth until they are fully coated in the oil.
Season liberally with salt and fresh cracked pepper, turning the ears and seasoning all sides. I have found that using more salt than I usually would works well for this preparation.
Pre-heat a grill to medium-high. I try to keep it at 500° F for this recipe.
You can use a grill pan on the stove pre-heated to medium high. But a grill pan on the stove will not contribute the light smoky taste of the grill and will likely take longer to cook because you will not be able to close the lid. If you cover it with foil or a large pan lid, it may contribute more to steaming and change the finished aspect of the grilled corn.
In the outdoor grill, place the ears of corn directly on the grates and then close the lid. Watch the temperature gauge to make sure the grill stays at about 500°F. If it gets too hot, you will burn the corn and it will be bitter. If the temperature is too low, you will miss out on the occasional charred/caramelized kernels that make this dish so yummy.
As you can see, there are some nice sporadic charred spots, but not a complete, cohesive strip. The kernels are starting to show a little wrinkling from cooking, but not too much or they will be soggy. You want the kernels to be a little al dente, but not raw.
Give the ears a few minutes to cool before handling. Corn holds heat, and if you try to cut the kernels off the cob right away you will burn your fingers. When they are cool enough to handle but still pretty warm, use a sharp knife and cut the kernels off the cob.
In a serving bowl, add the kernels, the chopped chives, chopped cilantro, and the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Toss until the ingredients are well distributed.
Then drizzle the juice of half a lime and toss again.
Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper to taste. For me, the original seasoning on the corn was enough, so I did not add more at this stage.
As I indicated, it can be served in a variety of ways.
On the side, with lemon and garlic shrimp. I did not add lime to the roast corn side dish because the shrimp sauce already had lemon juice.
Here I served it as a base for my pan-seared salmon with capers.
And the meal I made from this post; a nicely grilled bone-in ribeye steak.
So, next time you need a vegetable side dish, consider this warm, fresh, and deliciously herby grilled corn. You won’t regret it.
Grilled Corn Side Dish with Cilantro and Chives
- 4 ears fresh sweet corn on the cob
- 1/2 cup chopped chives
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, separated
- 1/2 lime, juiced (optional) If serving with a protein that already has citrus in the sauce, you may choose to not include the lime juice.
- Salt and Pepper to taste consider being more liberal than usual.
- Clean the ears of corn of all silk and husk.
- Place the ears in a dish with raised sides, such as a baking dish. Drizzle half of the olive oil over all 4 ears. Then shake the baking dish back and forth, rolling the ears in the oil until all sides have been coated.
- Season liberally with salt and fresh cracked pepper on all sides. I used more salt and pepper than I normally would to season. For some reason, that works well with this preparation.
- Place the ears on the grate of a grill preheated to 500°F. Close the lid and try to keep the temperature close to 500°F while the corn is cooking.
- Open the lid and rotate the ears 1/3 turn every 5 minutes. Make sure that the flame is hot enough for random caramelization to occur but not so hot that strips of blackened corn appear.
- While the corn is cooking, chop the herbs.
- After 15 minutes or so, the corn should be ready and look like this. Keep in mind that cooking times will vary by grill and ambient temperature, so focus more on appearance than time.
- Allow to cool just enough to handle. Then with a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cobs.
- In a serving bowl, combine the cut kernels, chopped herbs, and the remaining olive oil. Toss well to distribute.
- Drizzle the juice of half a lime and toss again.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary.
- Serve warm.