6 ears fresh corn, shucked*
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Special equipment: a wide 6- to 8-qt heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid
Garnish: fresh cilantro leaves
Bring 1 1/2 inches water (do not salt water) to a boil in pot, then add corn. Cook corn (water may not cover it), covered with lid, turning occasionally, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer with tongs to a large platter.
While corn cooks, melt butter in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
**When corn is just cool enough to handle, cut kernels off cobs in long, wide strokes with a large heavy knife, leaving kernels in clusters. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Add butter mixture and cilantro to corn, stirring gently to keep kernel clusters intact. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yields 6 servings
*In a pinch, you can use frozen sweet corn. But nothing is quite as good as fresh off the cobb.
**When cutting corn from the cobb, it helps if you put a bowl upside down to rest the cobb on so that it remains elevated above the kernels as you cut. It also helps prevent slipping.