Fresh Corn Spoonbread, Homage to Bologna

August  4, 2011
Author Notes

When the daughter and I were in Italy, it was serious pepper season. Be they hot or be they sweet, they were at all the vegetable stands in Bologna in their abundant and colorful glory. For this tender, custardy spoonbread I used an anaheim pepper for some gentle heat, along with a cherry-red bell for color. Some lemon zest brightens it all up.

And if you really want to gild the lily, gently warm leftovers and serve with a poached egg and a couple of slices of tomato for a heavenly breakfast. And don’t forget some more of that fresh dill. Now that I think of it, I'd make this for breakfast or brunch alone on the cooler end of the day. Or even in the dead of winter with (thawed) frozen corn.

Do be sure to follow the patented food52 method of stripping the kernels from the cobs. Not only is it safer, but the kernels don’t fly all around like stray popcorn. Here it is:

A final note: be brave - don't overbake it!

  • Serves 4 to 6
  • Melted butter
  • Kernels from 4 ears of corn, about 2 cups
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 anaheim pepper seeded and diced fine
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced fine
  • 8 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, 1/2" cubes
  • Sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh dill fronds for garnish
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the inside of an 8" or 9" x 3" baking pan or casserole with melted butter. Alternatively, drop a couple of tablespoons of butter into it, set in the microwave for 1 minute, remove and swirl the butter around the bottom and sides. Saves washing a pan and a brush.
  2. Stir together in a mixing bowl the corn kernels, polenta, and both peppers. Add the ricotta and eggs and stir to blend. Finally, stir in the cubes of mozzarella. Season to taste with salt, about 2 teaspoons, and pepper, several grinds. Scrape into your buttered casserole.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees until done, about 45 minutes. As noted, be brave! Don't overbake it. It's done when slightly puffed and light golden in color.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Dish with a large spoon, obviously, and garnish with fresh dill fronds.
  5. Ah, and don't forget to open a bottle of something crisp and white.
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