Corn Week: Grilled Corn with Spicy Korean Miso Sauce


[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Welcome to Serious Eats' Corn Week 2013. All week we'll be featuring recipes, techniques, and how-tos about how to get the most out of the sweet summer corn that should soon be flooding our farmers' markets, including a new grilled corn topping idea each day.

Are you the kind of person who likes dipping your french fries in your milk shake, ordering Big Mac sauce on your McDouble, mashing up croissants and doughnuts into newer, more expensive pastries?

These just may be the corn for you.

The idea started out when I spotted a little container of leftover Korean Fried Chicken I'd made earlier just as a few ears of corn were coming off the grill. Would a corn and Korean fried chicken mashup actually work?

Not really. The overt sweetness of brown sugar and the tang of rice vinegar in the sauce work well for chicken but can overemphasize the corn's natural sweetness. But it was a good starting point. Through a series of tweaking and streamlining, I arrived at a much better blend for corn-coating.

The base is still gochujang, a thick, sticky paste made with chilies, glutinous rice, and fermented soy beans. It's lightly sweet, a touch spicy, and packed with umami flavor. To cut back a bit on the sweetness and heat, I cut it with a bit of miso paste. As both pastes are made with similar processes and boast similar savory flavors, the two blend nicely.


To get it to coat my corn evenly I tried cutting it both with water and with oil, but a touch of mayo—just enough to loosen up the mixture—was the way to go. Lemon juice was a much more complementary acid for corn than rice vinegar in this case.

A handful of finely sliced scallions and cilantro, and my mashup was complete.

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Grilled Corn with Spicy Korean Miso Sauce

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