Saturday, August 28, 2010

Diary of a Secret Housewife: Creamed Corn, Ad Hoc Style

The last time I had creamed corn, it came out of a can.  In fact, every time I've ever had creamed corn, it's come out of a can.  And I'm not complaining: after all, it's corn (good) and cream (good), so what can possibly be bad about this?

I've come to realize, however, that the right question to ask is not "How could this possibly be bad?" but rather "How could this be even better?"  And the answer to this question is: fresh creamed corn, Ad Hoc style.

Here's what you need for this super easy recipe:
  • 6 ears supersweet corn, shucked
  • 1 large lime
  • 3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • Salt
  • ¾ to 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped chives
With a sharp knife, cut vertically down each ear of corn to slice off the kernels.  (Hint: To make this process easier, put an upside down bowl in a larger bowl.  Propping the corn on the upside down bowl will allow you to slice the corn freely, without slamming your knife into the edge of the bowl or sending corn flying everywhere.)

Put the kernels in a large bowl, then hold each ear of corn over the bowl and use a spoon or the back of a knife to scrape any remaining corn and the milk from the cob.

Grate the zest of the lime, preferably with a microplane grater; set aside.  Cut the lime in half.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the corn, squeeze about 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, or to taste, over the corn, and season with salt.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, concentrating the flavor, and the corn is beginning to sizzle, 15 to 17 minutes.

Stir in ¾ cup cream, the cayenne, and lime zest.  Continue to cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cream is absorbed by the corn.  Add up to ¼ cup more cream if desired for a creamier texture.  Add salt to taste and stir in the chives.  (I didn't want to go out to the backyard in the middle of the night to get chives, so I went with thinly sliced scallions in stead.)

The result is a surprisingly complex and flavorful dish: the corn flavor is intense, the cayenne adds a nice kick, and the texture was a nice juxtaposition between the unctuous quality of the cream and the toothsome crunch of the corn.  

I definitely added too much lime zest and lime juice, though, and the resulting dish was a bit too tart for my taste (though my husband actually quite liked it).  And the corn didn't absorb the amount of cream I was hoping for, so the end result was still a bit liquidy.

So in the end Ad Hoc's creamed corn was . . . good.  Could it have been better?   Yes, definitely.  But creamed = good, and corn = good, so I'm not going to complain. 

How do you feel about creamed corn?


BigAppleNosh August 30, 2010 at 11:32 AM  

I'm with you on this one. Corn? Good. Cream? Gooooood. I've only had the canned variety, but I'd be open to trying this grown-up version.

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