When you oven-roast corn on the cob, you lock in its classic, sweet flavor, unlike when you boil it, which tends to release its natural sugars into the water. To add even more flavor, you can wrap the cob in tin foil with a few herbs and spices; the foil acts as a steamer, infusing the corn with a depth of flavor you just won’t get with other cooking methods.
Step 1. Preheating, Husking and Cleaning
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the husks from the cob, including each silk strand (no one likes those threads in their teeth!), and then tear off the stem.
Clean the cob with cool water to get rid of any dirt or debris, but don’t dry it; the excess water acts as a steaming agent once the cob is inside the tin foil.
Step 2: Tin Foil Preparation
Tear off a piece of tin foil about 1 1/2 times the length of the cob and about 4 times the diameter. Don’t be too fussy with this step, but make sure the tin foil is large enough to easily wrap and seal the cob. Lay the piece of tin foil on a flat surface.
Step 3: Seasoning
When seasoning the cob, hold it over the tin foil to avoid creating a mess on your floor or counter. Begin by rubbing the cob with butter or olive oil until the entire surface is covered — a half teaspoon should be enough. For a slightly different flavor punch, use rendered bacon fat or a compound butter with herbs like basil and oregano.
If you aren’t using a compound butter, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon total of your favorite fresh or dried herbs and spices over the surface of the cob. Basil, oregano, thyme and garlic salt work well.
Step 4: Wrapping the Cob
Lay the cob horizontally in the center of the tin foil, parallel to the long sides of the tin foil. Leave a few inches of tin foil at the top and bottom and a couple inches on either side. Bring the top and bottom edges of the tin foil together and fold them over to create a single crease. Roll the foil down until it rests on top of the cob.
Crease the side edges and roll them until the creases are touching the ends of the cob.
Step 5: Baking the Cob
Don oven gloves and place the tin-foil-wrapped cob on the middle rack of the oven. Position a baking sheet directly under the cob to catch any drippings from the butter or oil, and then close the oven.
Allow the corn to cook for about 20 minutes for small cobs (5 to 6 inches), 25 minutes for medium cobs (7 to 8 inches) and 30 minutes for long cobs (9 to 11 inches). Turn the cob once halfway through cooking.
If you like a bit of char on your cob, open the foil during the last few minutes of cooking time. Remember to use oven gloves, and be wary of hot steam that can escape when you open the foil.
Step 6: Removing the Baked Cob
Turn off the oven and remove the cob from the oven, laying it on a flat surface to cool for a couple of minutes. Again, remember to use oven gloves, and be wary of the hot steam that may still be emanating from the cob.
Additional Flavoring Tips
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and spices, such as basil, oregano and thyme, over the cooked cob of corn to add more flavor.
Crush a couple of cloves of garlic (no need to remove the skins) and place them around the cob before wrapping.
For a Mexican twist, brush the cob of corn with about a teaspoon of mayonnaise after removing it from the oven, and then sprinkle the cob with a quarter teaspoon of a cayenne and chili powder mix (more if you like your food spicy).