Husband: “Really? Milking corn?”
Me: “It’s not that big a deal. Just use the paring knife.”
Husband: “I just don’t feel that corn milking is something you should be asking people to do during the week.”
Do you have conversations like this? Some helpers need help to help, that’s just the way it goes in the kitchen. Don’t be worked up about all of this when you take on Buttered Corn and Noodles because it really is not that much trouble, and as we move more deeply into fall, and your basil begins to look like little green tears out there on the porch, and the corn finally disappears from the markets, you’ll want to use frozen corn for this meal and there will be no milking involved.
So, what we have here friends, is a lot of carbs and a lot of fat, perked up with some more fat, and a few delightful herbs. We’re talking about egg noodles, for which you should put on your water right away, because, if you have a helper shucking your corn and taking it off the cob (then taking the little bits and corn milk off with the butt of your knife as aargersi explains) this dish will be ready in no time.
Crisp up your bacon first (my large cast iron was a good skillet for this dish), then get the corn going in the slick of bacon fat that you have left behind and the butter, as your new lardons take a paper towel nap. Watch your heat: I had to kick it down a notch as the corn started to brown up. As it so happened, my husband put the milk right in with the corn bits, so it all went into the pan together, which was fine.
At this point the noodles went into their bath of boiling water and indeed six minutes later, as instructed, they were ready to be drained and join their corn friends in the skillet. Next do your herbs (may I use this opportunity once again to extol the joys of marjoram which really never seems to get its due even though basil is constantly being tarted around the town in every recipe I have) and some salt and pepper. Throw on your scallions (a nice touch but if you don’t have any, don’t worry; some sautéed shallots would be a great choice here, too) and the lemon zest.
Total time: roughly 15 minutes. Now take your bowl and go watch “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” I suggest a run the next morning.
- 8 ounces egg noodles
- 4 cobs of corn
- 4 strips of bacon
- 4 scallions
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 6 basil leaves
- a pinch of fresh marjoram
- zest from 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- Cut the corn off of the cob, then milk the cobs as well. Thinly slice the scallions, and chop the herbs. ** to milk the cob - set the cob on end in a bowl and run the back side of your knife down it to get the juices and kernel tidbits out - this adds extra corny goodness to your dish! **
- Start a pot of water boiling for the noodles. Cut the bacon into lardons and crisp it in a large skillet. When it is nice and crunchy, remove it to a paper towel and drain all but a thin coating of bacon fat. Put the heat on medium add the butter and the corn to the skillet. Season with a pinch of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper.
- Your water should be boiling so put the noodles in, they probably take 6 minutes. Add the corn "milk" and the noodles to the skillet, then toss in the herbs and green onion and the bacon. Zest the lemon into the pan, toss, and serve!!
Photo by Nicole Franzen
By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.