I am sure I will raise corn purists' hackles with this recipe but what fun is it to bow to tradition all the time? I’ve made corn pudding with corn pulp and juices, cream and nothing else but a pinch of salt, and the resulting dish was a fine one, a recipe I’ll make for as many seasons of corn as I live to see.
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This summer, though, I decided to mix it up with a little onion and poblano pepper. And there’s nothing you can do about it (except complain in the comments section!).
Good corn pudding, pure or not, is nearly impossible to make without a $3 implement called a corn slitter (see above and below). It looks like a medieval torture instrument, and would have made a good one. It has mean teeth on one side for slicing through the kernels, and a concave bar on the other, for running down the side of the slit cob to push out all the pulp and juices.
Old-school cooks, deprived of this luxury gadget, just used the tip of a knife. Some did not live to tell. A box grater is the next best option, but you’ll get the kernels as well as the pulp. Knuckles beware!
Even with the marvelous corn slitter, corn pudding is not something you should do for a crowd or even do very often. It takes time and the pudding to effort ratio is low. But for the few, the proud, the corn-pudding-makers, the once-a-year reward is a delicious reminder that food is a demanding master, and, with effort, the delights are endless, even if short-lived.
Corn Pudding 2.0
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
About 14 ears corn
1/2 cup heavy cream
Butter, for greasing baking dish
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the oil into a small sauté pan and place over medium heat. Add the onion, poblano pepper, and a healthy pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is softened but not brown.
2. Slit, scrape or grate the pulp and juices from the ears of corn –- and collect into a bowl. You need 4 cups. Add the cream and onion mixture. Season to taste with salt. Pour into a buttered 9-inch round cast-iron skillet or equivalent size baking dish.
3. Bake the pudding until it’s browned on top and loose but no longer watery, about 45 to 60 minutes. Use a slotted spoon for serving.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).