Nothing says summer in the Midwest like grilled corn on the cob. When I was a teenager, one of the only jobs available to the under-16 crowd was seasonal summer work on the cornfields. I spend my first two summers of high school tediously stapling bags of pollen over rows of flowering corn tassels, working 40 hours a week at minimum wage. At the end of any given week, my arms would be shredded by the sharp under-leaves of the corn plant, my legs would be covered in insect bites, and any remaining exposed skin would be baked brown by the hours spent under the sun. Those were glorious, golden summers, lest you get the wrong idea–long days in the dirty outdoors, mud clod wars with friends in the field, my first taste of economic freedom. And at the end of the summer we got to go into the fields of sweet corn and haul back home garbage bags of cobs.
Fresh corn on the cob tastes pretty good any way you do it–boiled, roasted, steamed, or grilled. I did grilled, for a slightly-charred taste. I topped the corn with wasabi butter, which gives a perfect background kick to the corn’s natural sweetness. Then I topped everything off with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
To make the wasabi butter, simply mix sweet cream butter with a bit of wasabi paste, the kind you buy for sushi. I like a ratio of about 2 parts butter to one part wasabi, but be sure to taste as you’re mixing so you don’t receive a surprise nosefull of wasabi when you bite into your cob.