Corn on the Cob with Zesty Compound Butter

I can't think of many foods that are as delicious in season than sweet corn. Freshly pulled from the field or garden, it only needs the silks and husks removed and a bit of light cooking to make it heavenly.  Growing up and for many years after, we froze bushels of it while it was in season, as well as eating it every day during corn season, which could last quite a while.  As delectable as it it, a little variety is always welcome. Compound butter is something I have been using for lots of different dishes, and it is a fabulous way to give an already amazing bite a flavor bump. Compound butter is easy to make; this is my favorite version to serve with sweet corn, which is a perfect side for grilled entrees, from hamburgers to barbecue chicken, and everything in between. Give it a try, I think you'll love it! Makes enough for 10-12 ears of corn

4 ounces (1 stick, 1/2 cup) butter, very soft, but not melted

1/2 teaspoon fine lime zest

1 teaspoon very finely minced cilantro

Pinch of dried ground chipotle pepper

Salt, to taste

In a small bowl stir the butter with a rubber spatula.  Add the zest, cilantro, chipotle pepper powder, and a pinch of salt.  Work the ingredients into the butter until they are evenly distributed.  Taste, and add more salt (and chipotle pepper), if needed.  The butter needs to be a bit "salt and pepper forward", as the butter provides the seasoning for the corn, so don't be too restrained with the salt and pepper.  Remember, too, that the flavors in the butter will be diluted once it has melted onto the corn, so if it tastes "strong", that is a good thing!

Once the butter is to your liking, take a square of plastic wrap and lay it out on the counter.  Drop the butter by spoonfuls in a 6-inch row over to one side of the wrap.  Gently roll the plastic wrap around the butter to form a cylinder.  Pick up the plastic wrap by the ends and twirl, tightening the cylinder of butter.  Lay the plastic down and roll the cylinder of butter a bit to even it out.  Tum under then ends of the wrap and place the butter in the freezer to harden.

When ready to serve, remove the butter from the freezer and slick into 10-12 pieces.  Place them on a small, chilled plate and serve alongside the corn.  Alternately, place slices of the butter on the ears as they are stacked on a platter and scatter additional chopped cilantro over the corn for a pretty presentation.  (This is beautiful, but the individual servings are easier for diners to use.)

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