Corn plus

Corn on the cob is great with just butter and salt, particularly in August when it’s at its freshest. But you can also take your grilled corn to the next level with this pistachio, lime and cilantro rub.

Rubs are usually seen on meat, where they add flavour without adding extra sugar and fat the way a barbecue sauce will. (Not that most barbecue fans see anything wrong with extra sugar and fat on the meat – it’s just that the combination can cause things to burn. The solution is a dry rub.)

So why not add a rub to your grilled vegetables? Why not, indeed. Try this out, and you may decide that corn is just the beginning. A paprika rub on zucchini slices? Red peppers with Chinese five spice? Jamaican jerk asparagus? Once you start, the vegetable world is your seasoning oyster.

But start simple, with this recipe from Joy the Baker.


6 ears fresh corn, shucked

4 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves (it’s ok to add some of the tender stems as well)

1/2 cup shelled roasted and salted pistachios

juice of 2 juicy limes

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

salt and pepper to taste (remember the pistachios are salted)

1/3-1/2 cup olive oil

feta cheese (optional) to top


You’ll need an open flame to char the corn. Leaving the corn raw, char over a barbecue or over the open flame of your gas stovetop. Rotate and turn, allow to pop and sizzle, until charred around.

Remove from the flame and drizzle with melted butter. Of course.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, combine cilantro leaves, pistachios, lime juice, cumin, cardamom, pinch of salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Pulse in the food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil, continuing to pulse the picture as it emulsifies.

Mixture won’t be smooth and pourable, but will be very well chopped and emulsified. Spreadable is more the texture of this pesto. Taste and season as needed.

Use your fingers to rub the pesto on all sides of the warm corn. This is a messy and imperfect endeavor. Sprinkle with feta cheese, if using. Serve and enjoy!

Posted in Thoughts on Food.