Pan Roasted Cumin Butter Corn on the Cob


When I was growing up, corn on the cob was always a big hit in our family for both adults and children.  Roasted ears, slathered with butter was a treat that rivaled cake.  Maybe only for me 🙂


I’ve been looking at the corn since the season began and thinking about the good old days when all of the corn in the U.S. was not GMO; like none of it.  I couldn’t bring myself to buy any, knowing that the effects of genetically modified products on the human body are either unknown or disregarded for the sake of profit.  Anyway, I decided to buy some GMO corn on the cob because I wanted to roast some with cumin butter.  I used to grill corn over charcoal, brushed with cumin butter often back in the day, and nostalgia overcame my fear of fear itself.  Also I convinced myself that the fact that I was only eating it this one time, could not cause a build up of toxins or the creeping bejesus in my body.


Corn on the cob is so not a French thing.  In fact, in most of Europe corn was considered animal feed and was not the variety of sweet corn we eat in the U.S., but an unsweetened field corn.  I remember an Irish friend back in the 70s who was disgusted by our love of a food that he considered only good enough for pig slops or cattle fodder.  Talk about disgust, think of the look on M. Parret’s face if he saw this President butter on the counter. Maybe it’s not “la creme de la creme” but at least it smells and tastes like butter.

It’s funny because our son used to adore field corn.  In Niger/Mali vendors would go door to door with a coffee can filled with hot charcoal  and a basket of field corn, offering to roast as much as you wanted.  The ear was pushed down vertically into the charcoal and rotated until it was cooked and blackened.  Although he now denies this (we have the pictures), he was constantly on the look out for the “corn lady.”


Aren’t these little bowls precious!  I have a plain glass set of this size in France that I use to combine measured spices or to hold chopped aromatics.  I used the green one to hold the mixed cumin butter.


The cumin butter is brushed on all sides of the corn and then simply placed on the grill or in a dry skillet, turning frequently until properly grilled and lightly browned.  If using a skillet, after the browning, add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the pan, cover and steam for 5 minutes.  If grilling, put the top down for 3-5 minutes after browning.


And for the carnivorous, let there be an abundance of steak and onions; enough for today and the morrow’s sandwiches!


Pan Roasted Cumin Butter Corn on the Cob

1/3 cup butter

3/4 tsp powdered cumin

5-6 ears of corn, shucked, washed and dried

2-3 tbsp water

Mix the butter and cumin together, then brush onto all sides of the ears.  Heat a dry skillet at medium high, add the corn and turn frequently until browned in an attractive manner.

Add the water to the pan, cover and steam for 5 minutes.  Serve with extra cumin butter on the side.




About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
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18 Responses to Pan Roasted Cumin Butter Corn on the Cob

  1. Mad Dog says:

    I grew up watching Heckle and Jeckle eating corn at a time when I don’t think it was popular in Britain (other than in a Jolly Green giant tin). I think this changed by the 80s and corn on the cob has become quite popular. You’ll have to come and visit – my farmer has delicious corn which is grown organically. I’ll have to get some on Sunday and try it with cumin butter – your steak looks like a good accompaniment 🙂

  2. Nadia says:

    Not much of it available here at all. They only grow the not for human consumption kind.

  3. I love eating corn like this but seem to be alone in my Spanish/Italian family who believe it should be left to the beasties of the field! Love the idea of cumin flavoured butter…delicious.

  4. I love those little bowls!!! And I also love how you have prepared this corn. We have non GMO corn here in Victoria, BC, I buy ours from Silver Rill Farms and they have corn till the end of October! I’ve frozen a dozen ears and dehydrated a dozen ears. And I bought a dozen a few days ago and was wondering how to deal with them. So your posting is quite timely. I will try your recipe this weekend with the corn and cumin and a pan on the stove!! Thank you!!

  5. If you can find organic corn you will be ok. You can’t have organic and be GMO or so I’m told. Luckily our local farms use non-GMO. The idea of cumin butter sounds wonderful.

  6. Conor Bofin says:

    “I decided to buy some GMO corn on the cob because I wanted to roast some with cumin butter” – I love it!

  7. I tried to grow my own one year, out of desperation. Ended up with leaving it just a little too long, so it was not as tender as it should have been 🙁 Will have a look out for the plastic wrapped ears in the supermarket…

  8. chefceaser says:

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.

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