There are several choices, and all of them simple and delicious. Probably the most common is to boil them. You can remove the leaves and the dastardly little silks from the ear first, or remove only the toughest outer leaves and boil them in the husks. The silks are more easily removed once the corn has been cooked. Put the ears in boiling water. How long you leave them there depends on your tastes. Some people boil them only long enough to warm the ears – a minute or so. Others like them more done, and leave them in the pot for 3/5/7 minutes or more.
Another option is to microwave the corn. Again, you can shuck before of after cooking. If you shuck first, wrap the ears in damp paper towels, and put them in the microwave. Cook them on high until you smell the corn, which will be 6 to 9 minutes for a few ears or 12 to 14 minutes for a half-dozen ears. You should turn them around about halfway through. If you’re shucking after cooking, use a dish towel or oven mitts to protect your hands from the heat as you shuck.
You can also grill corn. And guess what? It can be in the husk or out of it. For a milder flavor, soak the corn in husks in cold water for at least a half hour. Put them on a hot grill, turn them every couple of minutes, and and cook until they’re evenly heated on all sides, which can take anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes. Again, the silks will come off more easily after cooking. If you husk first, you’ll get a much more intense grilled-corn flavor, and will want to grill the ears for 5 to 7 minutes, turning them occasionally to expose all surfaces to the heat. The final option – and our new favorite – is to mostly shuck the corn before grilling.
There are other options, as well. Corn can be cooked beautifully and quickly in a pressure cooker. It can be beautifully steamed, though not nearly as quickly. It can be also be baked in the oven – either in foil or (somewhat sloppily) in the husk.
Our “Corn Central” page provides links to suggestions for storing, shucking, de-silking, blanching, freezing, cooking from a frozen state, canning, refrigerating, seasoning, flavoring, cutting, and troubleshooting fresh corn – just about everything you want or need to know about making the most of this delicious fruit.