In a covered 10- to 12-quart pan over high heat, bring 5 to 6 quarts water to a boil.
Meanwhile, pull off and discard cornhusks and silks. Immerse ears in boiling water. Cover and cook until corn is hot, 3 to 5 minutes.
Drain, or lift ears from water with tongs. Season hot corn with choices from the flavor bar, or butter ears and add salt and pepper to taste.
Nutritional analysis for corn per ear of unseasoned corn.
Flavor Bar--Select 1 or more of the following combinations. Each covers at least a dozen ears of corn.
Chili salt and lime: Mix 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder. Cut 3 limes into wedges. Rub corn with lime wedge, then sprinkle with chili salt to taste.
Per serving: 7 cal., 53% (9 cal.) from fat; 0 g protein; 1 g fat (0 g sat.); 4 g carbo (1 g fiber); 585 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
Sesame teriyaki: Mix 3/4 cup purchased thick teriyaki sauce or glaze and 1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil. In an 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium heat, stir about 1/3 cup sesame seed until golden, about 3 minutes. Brush corn with sauce and sprinkle with sesame seed.
Per serving: 45 cal., 56% (25 cal.) from fat; 7 g protein; 8 g fat (4 g sat.); 8 g carbo (6 g fiber); 691 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
Pesto: In a blender or food processor, combine 1 1/3 cups fresh basil leaves, 2/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, and 2 cloves garlic; whirl until mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread on corn.
Per serving: 120 cal., 98% (117 cal.) from fat; 2 g protein; 13 g fat (2 g sat.); 6 g carbo (4 g fiber); 41 mg sodium; 7 mg chol.
Mexican cheese and chili: Mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons milk. Put 3/4 cup finely crumbled cotija or grated parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon ground dried California or New Mexico chilies or chili powder in individual bowls. Brush corn with mayonnaise mixture and sprinkle with cheese and chilies.
Per serving: 86 cal., 91% (78 cal.) from fat; 5 g protein; 7 g fat (2 g sat.); 7 g carbo (1 g fiber); 141 mg sodium; 7 mg chol.
Cilantro-chili-garlic butter. Mix 3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) melted butter or margarine with 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeño chili, and 2 or 3 pressed or minced cloves garlic. Brush on corn.
Per serving: 103 cal., 96% (99 cal.) from fat; 2 g protein; 11 g fat (2 g sat.); 3 g carbo (0 g fiber); 117 mg sodium; 31 mg chol.
Lemon-thyme butter: Mix 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) melted butter or margarine with 1/4 cup minced chives or green onions, 1 tablespoon minced fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Brush butter on corn.
Per serving: 69 cal., 100% (69 cal.) from fat; 1 g protein; 7 g fat (8 g sat.); 3 g carbo (1 g fiber); 79 mg sodium; 21 mg chol.
Mustard-tarragon sauce: Mix 6 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallot, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon, and 1 pressed or minced clove garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Brush on corn.
Per serving: 64 cal., 95% (61 cal.) from fat; 1 g protein; 8 g fat (9 g sat.); 5 g carbo (0 g fiber); 45 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
Spiced salt: In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over medium heat, stir 1/2 teaspoon each cumin seed, coriander seed, mustard seed, and black peppercorns until mustard seed begins to pop, about 3 minutes. Pour into a blender with 1 tablespoon coarse salt and grind to a powder. Sprinkle on buttered ears of corn.
Per 1/4 teaspoon: 7 cal., 0% (0 cal.) from fat; 0 g protein; 0 g fat; 1 g carbo (0 g fiber); 184 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
Curry butter: In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over low heat, stir 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder, 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine and stir until melted. Brush on corn.
Per serving: 104 cal., 95% (99 cal.) from fat; 2 g protein; 11 g fat (2 g sat.); 5 g carbo (3 g fiber); 118 mg sodium; 31 mg chol.
Dried tomato–basil butter: In a food processor, whirl 1/4 cup drained dried tomatoes packed in oil until finely chopped. Add 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine (at room temperature) and 1 teaspoon dried basil; whirl to blend. Or finely chop tomatoes with a knife and mix with butter and basil in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread on corn.
Per serving: 80 cal., 94% (75 cal.) from fat; 4 g protein; 3 g fat (8 g sat.); 4 g carbo (3 g fiber); 98 mg sodium; 21 mg chol.