Corn has a natural affinity for basil and chives, and cornmeal gives this pudding some extra corn flavor. The cheese is optional, I suppose, but it makes it that much more delicious. I would.
This is a good summer side with grilled chicken, ribs, steak, salmon, shrimp...But I’ve also made it with frozen corn for Thanksgiving, substituting thyme and/or parsley for basil/chives.
Unsalted butter (plus more for baking dish)
Scallions, white and green chopped fine
Small red bell pepper, medium dice
Corn (freshly shucked, or frozen if not in season)
Stone ground yellow cornmeal
All purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons
A few healthy grinds of pepper
Pinch of Cayenne
Pinch of Nutmeg
Grated sharp white cheddar cheese (plus 2T for top)
Preheat oven to 350 and put a kettle of water up to boil.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet and saute the scallions and red peppers until they just begin to soften. Remove to a large mixing bowl to cool.
In a food processor, combine 2 cups of the corn kernels, milk, eggs, cornmeal, flour, honey, salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg and pulse until it's a chunky puree.
Scrape the puree into the bowl with the sauteed vegetables. Add the remaining whole corn kernels, ½ cup cheese, the basil and chives. Mix everything together well.
Pour the mixture into a well-buttered glass or ceramic baking dish (push the solids around with a spoon to evenly distribute), dot the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces, and scatter with 2 tablespoons of grated cheese.
Put the baking dish into another pan, big enough to hold it with a little room to spare. Pour hot water from the kettle in the outer pan, so it reaches about halfway up the pudding, and place in oven.
Bake for about 1 hour, until it’s lightly browned on top, but still shimmies a little in the center. Let rest 10 or 15 minutes before serving.