I was requested to bring a corn dish for the picky eaters at Thanksgiving at my MIL's... T-day is also Italian themed this year. I am at a loss for ideas.
Apart from polenta there are almost no Italian dishes with corn. In Italy it's called granoturco. Typically in Europe corn/maize is used as animal feed. But polenta qualifies as a side dish. Of course I'm the one who always wants to ruin the day for the "picky eaters."
I spend a lot of time eating in Italy and I have never, ever been served corn in any other form than polenta. Corn is native to the New World, so even polenta has its roots in North America. Forget the 'mildly Italian theme', make a corn pudding and say that it was one of the gifts that Christopher Columbus brought back to Europe.
How about an "Italian style" corn dish? Here's one for creamed corn from an Italian:
Tale your favorite corn enchilada recipe, fill with Italian seasoned goodness, your preference there, spoon bechamel over the top and bake. A little non-traditional imagination and maybe starts a new side dish for your family, too!
I like the corn pudding idea and think its more traditional thanksgivingy. Two other options are recipes on this site: ottolenghis polenta with eggplant sauce or polenta cakes with Carmelized onions and goat cheese. Just search polenta and they should come up.
Thanks for the ideas! These were all helpful. I am not sure what I'll do yet, but I have a lot of things to think about :)
Corn pudding is a good idea. I also love corn fritters - and they can be made earlier at home, then reheated in the oven quickly before dinner. I've made them with a little minced ham in the batter before - if you wanted to add a slight Italian accent, you could use minced prosciutto or cooked/crumbled pancetta instead. (Actually, that sounds good...may have to try that!)
A corn,wild rice salad would be very tasty.You could even wilt some Italian greens like Rapini,chop them and fold them into the grains.A simple garlicky vinagrette would finish it off nicely.
Savory cornmeal biscotti might be another idea. Not a side dish in itself, but would be great to dip into a generous bowl of mushroom gravy.
Here is an idea from Fine Coking: http://www.finecooking...
It isn't Italian, but at least the name is.
I do like the idea of a polenta dish. Ive tried this one and its delic--would be easy to transport to you MIL's in a casserole dish too! Hope this helps. http://food52.com/recipes...
A simple saute of pancetta, corn, tomato and basil is delicious and very easy, though better in the summer when those ingredients are in season. I also use that sometimes as the base of a risotto, though I'm not sure the Thanksgiving table really needs any more starch. At least it's got Italian ingredients in it!
As a side note, it's absolutely true that Italians don't eat corn and many of them will completely turn their noses up at it. We once prepared some beautiful fresh garden corn on the cob for family visiting from Italy - thinking to show off the local cuisine - and one aunt started shrieking that we were trying to poison her with "pig food." She never came back, which was a blessing, but not really what we intended.