When it comes to summer produce, nothing (besides a really good tomato) gets me more pumped for the season than corn. I will eat it grilled. I will eat it steamed. I will eat it raw. But when I see people shucking their corn in the store, leaving behind the husks and silks, I weep, for they are leaving behind flavour.
Cobs, silks, and husks can be used to add corny flavour to dishes long after the husks are gone. The cobs are full of a sugary juice some refer to as “corn milk,” and the husks and silks impart a fresh, grassy note. You can even roast the cobs at 200 degrees Celsius until they start to brown, caramelising the sugars and adding some nuttiness. To extract every last bit of corn-related glory, you can use water (and make a stock) or you can use fat, and make a drawn butter that calls out for crab legs.
To infuse the butter, all you have to do is chuck the husks, silks, and (optionally) roasted cob in a vacuum sealed bag with a stick of butter — use one stick per cob — and precision cook it at 90 degrees Celsius for three hours. (Do not use freezer bags here, as the high temp may cause them to break.)
Be aware, this infused butter is made for dipping, not spreading. It will be almost ghee-like, instead of spreadable. It’s not truly clarified, but it’s close, and you certainly could finish clarifying it in the microwave if you wanted an even nuttier flavour.
Once the cooking time has elapsed, cut a hole in one corner of the bag, pour the liquid into a cup and set it in the fridge. Once the butter has solidified on the top, pop it off, transfer it to a ramekin or other small dish, and re-melt in the microwave before serving.
Cats and kittens, believe me when I tell you that this stuff is good. It’s sweet, nutty, grassy and bright, and — most importantly — it tastes of corn. It’s a dreamy match for lobster, crab and crawfish, but don’t forget the veggies. Artichokes, asparagus, potatoes and — yes — more corn all long to bathe in this infused butter, and you wouldn’t want to deny them that experience.