Today at the Hollywood Farmers Market I found my new sweetheart!
Well, she’s not exactly new. She and I renew our vows about this time every year. But before your raise you eyebrows and get all Jerry Fallwell on me, let me just say that my sweetheart is corn.
Sweet, sweeter, sweetest corn. We all love her. She’s sweet and sexy. But you gotta know a girl that sweet is bound to get around. Still, you don’t see me getting all jealous do you? I’m a big boy. I know what’s going on. In fact if I were as sweet as corn I’d expect to be slated onto quite a few dance cards myself. Besides, when it comes to sweet summer corn I don’t mind sharing– hell I don’t even mind sloppy seconds. Corn is plentiful this time of year, and I know she’ll be back to woo me again and again.
When a girl is this sweet, I think she’s far more interesting if she’s a little spicy too. So I am using sweet summer corn– off the cob and in a corn pudding. Not the kind of pudding you might think. This is a side dish, that would work as a main course too. The sweet corn gets a bright kick in the pants from cilantro, sweet peppers and bold jalapeno. The classic Mexican cheese, queso fresco makes an appearance. It is easily found in Southern California and adds an authentic flair. But Monterey Jack could be substituted.
Adapted from The Winemaker Cooks
- 4 T unsalted butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined and finely chopped
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno chile, seeded, deveined and finely chopped
- 4 cup corn kernels (about 6 ears corn)
- 3 large eggs
- 1.5 cup half-and-half
- 2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 T salt
- 0.5 t freshly ground black pepper
- 0.5 t chili powder
- 1 c queso fresco cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly utter an 8-cup gratin or shallow casserole dish. In a large saute pan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat just until foaming. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, scallions, and jalapeno and saute for 2 minutes. Add the corn and saute an additional 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and half-and-half. Stir in cilantro, salt, pepper, chili powder, and 1/2 cup cheese, then the cooked corn mixture. Pour into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. Place the gratin dish in a large roasting pan and fill the pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake the pudding for 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD