Summer is almost gone guys! Yes, Labor Day signifies the unofficial end of summer, but we all know that it generally hangs around a few more weeks. I know, the breeze is cooler and the days are shorter and there are promises of apple cider in the air, but it’s just not time to give up on summer. Not just yet. The tomatoes are still here, and so is the corn.
Have you ever had a corn pudding? How about a corn spoon bread? They’re similar, but a pudding is slightly more soft, while a spoon bread often has more structure. Both dishes generally play off the sweetness of summer corn, enveloping it in a sweet-savory custard of egg and cheese. Some are very sweet and some savory, much like the great cornbread debate of the north vs. south. As you might imagine, I tend to the sweet side (north!) of that particular debate, loving a honey-filled cornbread so much more than it’s savory counterpart….which gives me an idea for another post. My favorite spoonbread involves lots of unsavory characters such as canned cream corn (omg, guilty pleasure), but I had some lovely sweet corn laying around and wanted a good, natural, corn pudding to eat with my kale salad.
I found this recipe over at Food52, which, if you haven’t visited, is a wonderful resource for all those good things happening amongst us home cooks. It looked great—simple and respectful of the corn—but also easy to alter. I wanted some heat in there…just a little, nothing crazy. A little roasted poblano with my corn and cheddar, please. There was no one to stop me (there’s never anyone to stop me), so that’s what I did.
This was lovely. Easy and simple, it really played up the corn. The custard is light and airy and the cheese is subtle enough that it doesn’t overwhelm the corn. I felt like, for me, it was missing a bit of richness, but this is likely due to my use of skim milk over whole (I’ve been a beast recently; it was necessary). If you wanted to use cream, I think it would push it into awesome territory. I loved my addition of poblano. Poblano and cheddar and corn just makes sense, doesn’t it? Roasting the poblano mellows it and gives it a bit of smokiness that really compliments the rich sweetness of the other ingredients. Honestly, this dish takes about 10 minutes to throw together and is lovely as a light lunch (with a salad) or as a side (with a protein). You should give it a try before you trade your sweet corn for squash and apples.
Corn and Poblano Pudding
Adapted from Food52. Serves 4.
You could use ANY cheese in here, from parmesan to goat. If it sounds good to you, go for it.
2 T unsalted butter
2 c fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
4 scallions, chopped, white and light green portions
1 poblano pepper
3 lg eggs
1 T honey
1 T all-purpose flour
1 c whole milk (I used skim)
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/3 c coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus 2 tablespoons
4 large, fresh basil leaves, chopped
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a square baking dish (8×8″ or 9×9″…or I used a round one…it’s not too important here)
- In a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the corn and scallions and cook ~3 min
- Roast the poblano, whole, over an open flame or under a broiler, turning regularly, until the skin in blackened. Place in a paper bag and seal; let rest in bag for ~10 min. Remove from bag and rub off skin. Chop pepper and add to corn and scallion mixture
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, milk, flour and cayenne
- Add the corn mixture and stir to combine. Add 1/3 c cheese and basil; stir to combine
- Pour into the prepared dish and sprinkle with remaining 2 T cheese
- Bake ~40 min or until center is just set
- Let sit ~15 min before serving