Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Mexican Creamed Corn with red peppers and chipotle

Canned creamed corn is insipid and flavorless at best. Lightly grilling the corn on the cob before scraping the kernels into a cast iron skillet foaming with browned butter will add a lovely smoky flavor to a wonderful side dish.  In addition, the inclusion of red peppers, a chopped chipotle will increase the flavor factor ten-fold.  This is a lovely addition to your dinner table in celebration of fresh corn season, a Cinco de Mayo party or a Tabasco Fiasco Fiesta, as we fondly recall a party from our youth.  Don't ask.

8 medium ears of corn, husks and silks removed
3 tablespoons of butter
1/2 of a large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into small dice
1 large shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 chipotle chile, in adobo sauce minced
1 cup of heavy cream
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 of a lime squeezed.  About one tablespoon of lime juice
1 tablespoon of minced cilantro
If you do not like cilantro, please sub some flat leaf Italian parsley
2 tablespoon of cotija cheese, crumbled

Optional addition:  3 slices of thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
Of course, keep it vegetarian without the addition of bacon

Grill the corn over low/medium heat until the kernels are just lightly toasted.  Our goal is not to overbrown and cook the corn, it will be cooked more later in a cast iron skillet.  Lightly does it.
Cut each ear of corn in crosswise to ease in cutting the corn off the cob.
Use a sharp knife to shave the corn off the cob.  Use a coffee cup sauce to hold the fatter end of the corn cob and slice down, carefully.  Use the back of a butter knife to milk the cob and reserve the juices from the cob in the saucer.
Heat butter (or if you are feeling very wicked, use rendered bacon grease) in cast iron skillet until foaming and a very light toasty brown.  Add sweet red pepper dice and shallot and cook for a few minutes. Add the garlic and chipotle and cook a minute more.  Finally add the scraped toasted corn kernels and reserved corn milk.   Add the heavy cream and cook until is thickens over low to medium heat.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Very little salt will be needed, actually, since cojita cheese can be quite salty, as well the heat from the chipotle will be sufficient for most.  Off the heat, stir in the lime juice and put in serving bowl.  Top with cotija.  If you are being wicked, add the bacon crumbles.  Enjoy.

Hint:  Freeze the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in an ice cube tray and once frozen, pop out and bag in a freezer bag.  When you need to use just a bit of chipotle pepper in a recipe, take a rock hard chipotle and grate it over the dish on a microplane.

Chipotle peppers in adobo
Fresh Corn on FoodistaFresh Corn

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