WFD-SE(What’s For Dinner-Sides Edition)?

Remember when I said I wasn’t going to have very many recipes for you? Well that’s still the case, as I rely on the same few staples in my house on most nights (a rotation of chicken cutlets that I pretend are other things if I don’t bread them the same way twice in the same week, hamburgers, skirt steak and pasta in that order).  I do have a few great side dishes though.  Aren’t they much easier?  SO much less pressure to have a couple of good sides than the whole meal.  And really, if the sides are good it can really mask some major blandness in an otherwise boring main course.  So here’s one we stumbled upon a few weeks ago when my husband got his monthly copy of Men’s Health magazine.  We basically live off of the grill during the summer… and sometimes beyond.  So anything we can try to grill is always fun.   This isn’t necessarily a new idea, just a different way to spice it up- literally.  It’s our take on their grilled corn recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Several ears of corn, husks on
  • about 1 tablespoon of butter per ear of corn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Pull the husks about halfway down the ears of corn and soak them in a large pot of cold water for about 15 minutes.
  • While they are soaking, melt the butter in the microwave.  Mix together everything else except the cheese.  Save a small amount of parsley for topping.
  • Combine the butter and dried mixture.
  • When the corn is done soaking, pull the husks the rest of the way down, leaving them just on the very bottom of the ear as a “holder”.  Pull off the silk threads and give each ear a good rinse.  Pat dry and coat with the melted butter and seasoning.  Reserve enough of the mixture to brush on a second coating after grilling.
  • Place them on the upper rack of your grill, just until they begin to blacken slightly.  Rotate them around to get all of the sides well grilled.  They shouldn’t be completely BLACK, but a light char is good.
  • When they’re done, remove the remaining husks. Brush on an extra light coating of the remaining mixture for more flavor and sprinkle on the last of the fresh parsley.  Shake some shredded parmesan on and you’re done!

Grilled corn with fresh parsley and cheese

I usually substitute fresh herbs for the dried kind because it’s just plain easier.  I rarely read a recipe ahead with enough time to go buy them fresh, and dried is always right there on my spice rack.  However, I’ve tried this both ways and the fresh parsley really does make a huge difference in this case.  In fact, I picked ours fresh from the backyard, since parsley is the only herb I grew successfully this year.  Woo hoo!  If you have to use dried herbs, though, take a tip I picked up from Rachael Ray:  pour them into your hand first and use your thumb to grind them up in your palm a bit before sprinkling into your dish; it ‘wakes up’ the oils in the herb and brings out the flavor and fragrance from a dried herb that has been in a jar for a long time.

I also went heavier on the garlic than most would like, because I could eat spoonfuls of garlic raw.  If you need to tone it down, by all means do so.  You can also make it more or less spicy with the paprika.  The original recipe called for red pepper flakes, which were just a little too much for me.  As for the butter, we’re big fans of the Smart Balance Butter spread it’s the healthiest and most butter-like of all of the things we’ve tried.  If you don’t have fresh parmesan on hand, one of those Kraft parmesan shakers of grated cheese did the trick just fine.  In fact, the one I had on hand was a mix of parmesan and romano and I thought it gave it an extra nice flavor.  We wound up adding in a sprinkling of shredded romano the next time we made it as a result.  We also cut the corn off of the cob afterward and sprinkled the remaining parsley and cheese on after it was plated.  It just made for an easier side when one of us is always running to grab the baby or eating with one hand to feed him with the other.

If you try this recipe, let me know if you change it up at all, too.  The easiest way to have something “new” for dinner is a small tweak to something you’re already doing!  Enjoy.

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