Photo Credit: A. Kane
Remember creamed corn? It was one of my childhood favorites. I'd eat it straight from the can, warmed on the stove, and served in a little bowl as a side dish any time of the year. I guess that's the joy from eating from a can—any time of year you can enjoy the bounty straight from your pantry!
As my tastes have matured— and my awareness of the importance of eating fresh and seasonally has grown— canned vegetables have been shelved. Still, I crave the delicious creaminess and the delicate sweetness of creamed corn. So this week, I made a batch using kernels fresh off the cob, and it was so much yummier than the canned variety of my youth.
The corn this season is excellent. It's so sweet it has a candied quality to it and so buttery all on its own, I wouldn't think about buttering the cob. Making creamed corn is a snap. I didn't add any ingredients that would detract from the true corn flavor, so that the only thing that you are left with is corn—pure and simple.
In honor of my childhood, I even put the creamed corn in little bowls but the can opener stayed in the drawer.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
4 ears of corn, kernels removed and milked*
1 cup water
1/4 cup half and half, or cream
1 tablespoon butter
fresh chives, minced (optional)
In a medium sized sauce pan, over medium-high heat, soften the shallots in the olive oil. Season with salt; the shallots should begin to sweat, and turn transparent, not color. This takes 3-5 minutes.
Add the corn kernels, and the water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, and cover the pan for 5 minutes. This allows the corn to steam, and concentrates the flavor. Remove lid and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes, or until water is reduced by half.
Remove from heat, add the half and half, and the butter. In a food processor, or with an immersion blender, process the corn to a rough consistency. You want the creamed corn to still have some body. Taste, and season with more salt if needed. Sprinkle with freshly minced chives if using.
* Corn milk is the starch that resides in the cob after the kernels have been cut from it. After slicing the kernels from the cob, turn the knife over, and with the dull side, rub the knife up and down over the cob. A milky, white liquid will be exuded. Scrape the liquid on top of the kernels.
Adrienne Kane is a writer and photographer. She is the author of a memoir, Cooking and Screaming, and the food blog, nosheteria.com.