Friday, September 18, 2009

Corn Pudding Recipe

Corn pudding or corn souffles as they are some times called are a very versatile, elegant and substantial dish. I have made them with a creamy wild mushroom ragout or with fresh tomato sauce and melted cheddar. Truth is they can be served plain with a green salad. They are a bit deceiving as they are made, in this instance, in 4 ounce tins or ramekins and seem more like a side dish or an appetizer, when in reality they are very rich and, served as I've suggested with a side of something else, can make a nice lunch or lite supper. A great way to highlight corn season, they keep for a week in the fridge and can be warmed up easily in the oven in 10 minutes to go, let's say, with the leftover roast chicken.

All in all one of my favorite new recipes.

Corn Pudding

De-kernel 8 cobs of corn. Divide in half, reserve one half for later.

Put half the corn in a sauce pan and cover with 2 cups of half and half and 2 or 3 springs of fresh herbs like Summer Savory or Thyme and bring to a simmer. Take the sauce pan off the heat and let it infuse for about 30 minutes.

Remove the herb sprigs and puree in a blender. Pass through a sieve, discarding any solids.

In a heavy bottomed pot melt 3 T of unsalted butter then add 6 T of all purpose flour. Over a low flame cook the roux for several minutes being careful not to brown it.

Gradually whisk in the reserved corn liquid and cook over low heat for about 25 minutes. This mixture is very thick, and needs to be attended to with a wooden spoon often to prevent sticking.

Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes

In the mean time preheat the oven to 400 F.

Heavily butter 6 - 4 ounce tins or ramekins (I had some extra batter last time and was able to get 7 and if you only fill them 3/4 you can easily get 8).

Melt 3 T unsalted butter and add it to the cooled corn mixture along with the reserved kernels. Mix well.

Separate 4 eggs, adding the yolks one at a time to the corn mixture.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks and carefully incorporate them into the corn mixture.

Add 2 T finely chopped chives, salt, freshly ground black pepper and a titch of cayenne to the batter.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Spoon the batter into the prepared containers and place in a large baking dish. Fill the dish with hot water until it comes half way up the sides of the containers and place in the oven.

Cook for about 30 minutes or until the puddings are lightly browned.

Right away remove them from the water and let them set for about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from containers and turn right side up (so the nice brown top is facing up)

At this point you can serve them as is, with a salad, or make a simple ragout of mushrooms, garlic and parsley, finished off at the end with a drop of brandy and a few tablespoons of heavy cream, spoon over the corn puddings.

Or to highlight another seasonal ingredient make a simple tomato sauce with lots of fresh local tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and some of the same kind of herb you used in the corn puddings, cook for 45 minutes over medium heat.

When I did this I put the corn puddings in a baking dish spooned tomato sauce on top and around them and grated some extra sharp white cheddar cheese on top and cooked them in a 425F oven until the cheese melted.

Give these little gems a try. They are really tasty, easy to make, and very versatile.

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