Creamed Corn


This tastes like corn with the volume turned all the way up.It is great as a side dish or as a bed for seared scallops or roasted fish or barbecued chicken (coincidentally, all of my favorite things to eat during the summer). The small victory here is that by pureeing half of a vegetable dish,you get tremendous body and richness without having to make a roux or adding tons of cream, half-and-half, or butter(but I do call for some, because . . . come on!). A little basil,sage, thyme, or cilantro wouldn’t be unwelcome here, but I really love the simplicity of just corn, dairy, and salt.

SERVES 4

6 ears corn, shucked

3 Tbsp unsalted butter Kosher salt

1/4 cup [60 ml] half-and-half or 2 Tbsp each heavy cream and whole milk

Break each ear of corn in half. Working with one piece of corn at a time, stand the half ears up on your cutting board(put the broken, flat side on the board) and carefully cut off the kernels. Transfer the kernels to a large bowl. Scrape the cobs with the blunt edge of your knife to get all the milky bits. Put the corn milk into the bowl with the kernels. Discard the scraped cobs or use them to make corn stock.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.Add the corn kernels and a generous pinch of salt. Cook,stirring, until the corn is tender and bright yellow, about 5minutes depending on the age of the corn.

Transfer half of the corn mixture to a blender, add the half-and-half, and puree until smooth. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender to blend some, but not all, of the corn.)Transfer the pureed corn to the saucepan, turn the heat to medium, and let everything get nice and hot, about 2minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

SPIN-OFFS

FOR CREAMED CORN CONGEE, cook rice (white or brown) with twice as much water as you normally would and let it cook well past your typical stopping point, so that it’s very soft. Fold in the creamed corn and serve topped with sliced scallions and a splash of soy sauce.

FOR CREAMED LEEKS AND/OR ONIONS, finely chop them and sauté them in butter, just like the corn. Puree half the mixture in a blender with a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half, and stir it back into the rest of the vegetables (or use an immersion blender to puree some,but not all, of the vegetables). This makes a delicious bed for roast chicken, grilled steak, or pork chops.

FOR CREAMED SPINACH, sauté a finely chopped onion in butter and then add lots and lots of spinach (it wilts like you wouldn’t believe, so use quite a bit more than you think you should) and cook it until the liquid it releases evaporates. Add a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half.Puree half of the mixture in a blender and stir it back into the rest of the spinach (or use an immersion blender to puree some, but not all, of the spinach). Season with salt,pepper, and ground nutmeg.

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