Run, Pick Corn
Put on old clothes. Get out your largest apron. Set yourself up to work outside. Plan to take a shower afterwards. Get ready for the corn pudding to end all corn puddings.
This pudding contains no eggs, no dairy products, no thickeners. This pudding is just corn, with the merest whisper of butter and a hum of cayenne. According to Shel, Tom, Louise, and Barbara, this pudding is The Best.
I found the recipe here, in the New York Times. It’s so delicious that Shel and I just grated up sixteen more ears of the supersweet white corn we’ve got right now and put the frothy raw grated corn in the freezer. Sometime, after corn season, I’ll be able to pull out a bag of corn fluff and bake it into the essence of summer. Good trick, that.
Pure Corn Pudding*
8 ears of really fresh corn, husked
1 Tablespoon butter
salt, cayenne pepper
juice of one lime
Follow all precautionary instructions above. When you are safely ensconced in the most splash-proof environment available to you, commence grating the corn directly into a medium-sized, which in my world is 9″, cast iron pan. Correct, grate the corn right into the unoiled cast iron pan.
Heat your oven to 350°. Place cast iron pan in the oven and bake until the edges and the top are lightly golden. The original recipe calls for 20-30 minutes, but I found that in my convection oven it took more like 35-40 minutes. In any case, don’t let it really get brown.
Remove the pudding from the pan into a serving bowl and stir in the butter, salt, and cayenne. Stir to combine and add half the lime juice and taste the pudding. You deserve a taste anyway. How much lime juice you will need depends on how sweet your corn is. My corn needed one whole lime to balance the intense sweetness. You don’t want to really taste the lime, you just want to take the edge off the sweetness and give it a subtle mystery.
And as I said, I see no reason why the raw preparation shouldn’t freeze perfectly, and I can’t imagine that the freezing would harm the pudding in any way. Bon appétit !
*adapted from the recipe at http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/the-temporary-vegetarian-the-simplest-corn-pudding/