Because the best things in life are simple

Corn, the Way Mario Makes It

Corn-on-the-cob Batali-style. This is not your grandmother's corn.
Corn-on-the-cob Batali-style. This is not your grandmother's corn.

Mario Batali is very clever. In his new book, “Italian Grill,” he offers a recipe called “Corn, as Italians would eat it.”

He never says this is a recipe he got in Italy or this is an Italian recipe, passed down from generation to generation. Instead, he makes it clear that this is a recipe he made up: one he believes Italians would love. And if any of them in the old country are reading his book, I’m sure they’re making it and loving it.

The inspiration for the corn came from Batali’s visit to Mexico where he saw street vendors poaching ears of corn and then “painting” them with mayonnaise, dusting them with chili flakes and grated queso fresco (fresh cheese), and then squeezing lime juice all over them. He then clearly states, “they do not do this in Italy, but this is what they might do.”

Try it. It’s very different from the usual butter and salt treatment we’re all familiar with, but it’s a welcome change.

Be adventurous. It’ll cost you only a little time and only a little money, as corn is pretty cheap this time of year. Salute!


  • 6 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (this is the imported parmesan cheese)
  • About 2 tablespoons of fresh, chopped mint
  • Hot red pepper flakes

A sprinkling of fresh mint and red pepper flakes makes a nice finish.
A sprinkling of fresh mint and red pepper flakes makes a nice finish.

What I did:

Place corn on the hottest part of the grill and cook for three minutes, or until grill marks appear on the first side. Roll each ear over a quarter turn and cook for two or three minutes, then repeat two more times.

Mix the oil and vinegar on a large flat plate. Spread the Parmigiano on another flat plate.

When the corn is cooked, roll each ear in the oil and vinegar mixture. Shake off extra liquid and dredge in the Parmigiano to coat lightly.

Place corn on a platter. Sprinkle with the mint and red pepper flakes and serve immediately.

Find more recipes in the Food section

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