M: I never met a vegetable that wasn’t better fresh from the field and corn is a shining example of that rule. Alright, so technically corn is a grain not a vegetable, but I don’t have a fresh grain policy established yet, so let’s stick a pin in that. When processing corn, the inclination is to cut the kernels from the cob and call it a day, but if you stop there you are missing out. The creamy “milk” left behind in the cob is a treasure too easily forgotten. Now the bad news. It’s December. We are big believers in cooking seasonally here at the Skillet, but we let this one linger a little too long before posting and fresh corn is not at every turn as it was a few months ago. If you simply must, you can get away with 5 cups of frozen corn in place of the ten ears in the recipe and still find a result that is sweet and flavorful, but if you do, it pays to mash the corn up some as you cook it. Either way, we’re miles beyond the canned stuff with this simple stove top recipe for creamed corn. Bright and vibrant on the palate, it’ll make you wonder why you even keep that can opener around. If you’re looking for something more conventionally creamy (read: dairy), check out the also excellent corn gravy found in the Community Cookbook. I can’t argue with either choice.
K: Right, so…I have a confession to make. I grew up HATING creamed corn with the heat of a thousand fiery suns. Hated.It. I cannot emphasize that enough. Looking back now I realize that this attitude was utterly unrelated to the dish itself, but really boiled down to two things. Thing the first is that I thought it was stupid to do anything more complicated to corn than shuck, boil, butter, and I still kind of do in the depths of my heart, but I have relented to practicality. Thing the second? I hate cutting the corn off the cob. Hate. Present tense. Still hate it. Oh sure there’s a million stupid gadgets that supposedly make it better, but it’s all a lie. It’s a pain in the arse no matter what you do. Sometimes though, something is worth the effort, and I have now made peace with the creamed corn, because it really is worth it.
For those of you who stand firmly in the ‘no-cut’ zone on corn? Use frozen here, and it will still be good. Better even if you can use a mix of yellow corn and ‘shoepeg’ or white corn. We can generally find both in our larger grocery stores even this far north. I do this when I’m craving corn in the dead of winter in Boston, and it turns out just fine. It has been served at many a Christmas dinner in this house with no complaints….though I do generally add a generous dollop of cream ‘for company’.
Recipe: Creamed Corn
Summary: Corn fresh from the cob and skillet cooked in it’s own milk. Sweet and creamy, this one puts canned alternatives to shame. Adapted from The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook
- 10 Ears Corn
- 1 T Sugar
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 1/2 c (or so) Water
- 3 T Bacon Grease
- 2 T Butter
- Shuck and silk corn
- Using a sharp knife, remove kernels from corn and place in a large bowl.
- Make a second pass with the knife, scraping the corn milk from the cobs into the bowl.
- Add sugar, salt, pepper and water to bowl. Should be just a a little soupy.
- Liquify grease in a skillet over medium-low heat and add corn mixture.
- Cook until corn is fully cooked through and mixture becomes creamy.