Friday, May 30, 2008
My early experiences cooking and eating corn in China were very disappointing - the stuff was not sweet at all. 'Feed corn! - at home we'd give this to animals, not people', I thought. I had forgotten the principle of extreme freshness - with corn, the sugars turn to starches once picked. If you have corn in your garden, for example, it's best to start water boiling and then go out to pick the corn so you can cook it as soon as possible to preserve max sweetness. In China I eventually learned to buy corn only from the farmer's market, taste a kernel before buying, and then cook the stuff as soon as I got home.
Most people have a very specific idea of what creamed corn should be; mine is the basic cream corn from a can. One of my sisters had a deep love for the stuff when we were little. I wanted to make something far removed from the childhood memory though, and try the method that uses the corn's natural starch to thicken the sauce. I also added some onion and pepper for flavour. I used milk but you can definitely use real cream. This is a labour intensive recipe suitable for one or two people; it's a bit too much work for a crowd.
Take two very fresh cobs of corn and run a knife down the centre of each row of kernels so that they split. Cut/scrape the corn off of the cob, working over a containter to catch the juice. Mince a tablespoon of onion and half a tablespoon of hot green pepper and saute in 2 tbs (less if desired) butter with 1 tsp salt til tender; add corn and saute until just starting to soften. Add two thirds of a cup of milk and simmer til milk is thickened; taste for salt. Main for one (serve with biscuits and sliced fresh tomatoes) or side for two.