The first tender corn of the season is one of the most anticipated tastes of summer. Cooked on the grill and brushed with flavored butter, it is certainly a savory delight. But handling hot, slippery corn isn't always easy. Fortunately, the husks can be turned into a perfect handle.
Begin by buying ears of corn still covered with the husks. If a husk is dried or brownish, remove it. Peel back the remaining husks, remove one hull strip, and tie it around the other husks to create a handle. Mist the kernels with water to help prevent burning. Place the corn on the grill over indirect heat; cook, turning for a few minutes on each side, until almost brown. If the husks start burning, spray them with more water.
To make flavored butters, start with 1 1/2 pounds (six sticks) of unsalted butter at room temperature, then add coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. For herbed butter, you will need 1 ounce of mixed green herbs, such as tarragon, chives, basil, or parsley. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil, and ready a bowl of ice water. Blanch the herbs by dropping them in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transfer them to the ice bath to stop cooking. Remove the herbs from the ice bath, and squeeze them dry. Mince the herbs with a sharp knife, and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Add 1/2 pound of butter, and process until well combined and the butter is green. Add salt and pepper to taste, and transfer herb butter to a sheet of plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze until needed.
Divide the remaining pound of butter between two bowls. In another bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground chile powders, such as arbol, ancho, or New Mexico. Add the powders to one of the bowls of butter, and combine thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the butter to plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Mix the remaining bowl of butter with 1 1/2 tablespoons of curry powder in the same manner.