Foolproof Boiled Corn

Why This Recipe Works

To produce perfectly crisp, juicy corn every time, we figured out that the ideal doneness range is 150 to 170 degrees—when the starches have gelatinized but a minimum amount of the pectin (the glue that holds the cell walls together) has dissolved. Consistently cooking the corn to that temperature was easy once we realized that we shouldn’t boil the corn. Instead, we used a hack sous vide method: bringing a measured amount of water (4 quarts) to a boil, shutting off the heat, dropping in six ears of corn, and letting the corn stand for at least 10 minutes. The temperature of the water decreased quickly enough that there was never any chance of the corn overcooking, while the temperature of the corn increased to the ideal zone. Even better, the method is flexible: It can accommodate between six and eight ears of different sizes, and the corn can sit in the water for as long as 30 minutes without overcooking.


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6 ears corn, husks and silk removed
Unsalted butter, softened
Salt and pepper

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Serves 4 to 6

Success depends on using the proper ratio of hot water to corn. Eight ears of corn can be prepared using this recipe, but let the corn sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. Use a Dutch oven with a capacity of at least 7 quarts.

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven. Turn off heat, add corn to water, cover, and let stand for at least 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes.

2. Transfer corn to large platter and serve immediately, passing butter, salt, and pepper separately.

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