Grilled Parmesan-Pesto Sweet Corn
In my opinion, summer in the Midwest is highlighted best by two great ingredients: Michigan cherries, and fresh sweet corn.
The season for both of them is all too short, so it’s best to just go crazy on them while they’re around. To say that I haven’t eaten a pound of fresh cherries in one day would be a lie.
And to say that I don’t serve sweet corn as a side dish (usually to steak lettuce wraps) 4 nights a week when it’s at the peak of it’s season wouldn’t be true, either. I obviously believe in taking advantage of what we have, when we have it.
But that doesn’t mean that I like to just serve corn + butter + salt + pepper every single time (although that’s great, too). Once in awhile, I like to make it a little more interesting.
This Grilled Parmesan-Pesto Sweet Corn is kind of like an Italian-inspired version of Mexican elote, if you will. You start with grilled corn-on-the-cob.
It seems like everybody has their own way of grilling corn (in the husk, without the husk, in foil, etc.), but I’ll just tell you my way: I steam the corn until it’s 90% cooked first (I steam it in the microwave, because it’s easy) and then put it on the grill for some char. That’s it.
When the corn comes off the grill, you’ll want to slather it with basil pesto and then throw some Parmigiano Reggiano at the situation. Just like with salmon pesto pasta, you can use either store-bought or homemade basil pesto here.
No butter necessary – all the creaminess and tang you need will come from all of that luscious cheese. Red pepper flakes are optional, but encouraged, for a bit of spice.
- 4 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked
- 6 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat grill for direct grilling over medium-high. Meanwhile, place corn in large microwave safe dish with 1/4 cup water; cover with paper towel or plastic wrap. Microwave on high 5 to 6 minutes or until tender crisp.
- Transfer corn to grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly charred; turning frequently. Transfer corn to serving platter. Brush all sides of corn with pesto and sprinkle with cheese. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve immediately.
Home Chef Tip: Don't have a microwave? Corn can also be boiled for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender crisp, before grilling.