I was as surprised The Professor when, one day last summer, I decided to make creamed corn for dinner. Harold Dieterle’s Creamed Corn, to be exact — a recipe that I had come across at Design Sponge. (Dieterle is a former Top Chef contestant and the chef at Perilla in New York’s Greenwich Village — and his mother doesn’t just think she’s Italian, she really is.)
Quite wisely, The Professor didn’t offer any skeptical opinions. The Cook was seven month’s pregnant and quite possibly exhibiting signs of heat-induced temporary insanity. So instead of saying “My mother used to serve us creamed corn from a can and I despised it,” he said, “OK, honey.”
I’m not sure why I was inspired to cook creamed corn. Perhaps it reminded me of a beloved dinner of my childhood: Stouffer’s Corn Souffle. Perhaps it was the photographs on the Design Sponge site. Perhaps it was the fact that while I love the taste of fresh sweet corn, I don’t like thinking about tooth floss while I’m at the dinner table.
In any case, I made it. And then I made it again. And again. In short, The Professor loved it. It was sweet and satisfying. It was just creamy enough. Every bite delivered a few nice pops of flavor, because some of the kernels are added towards the end of cooking, after you’ve pureed the mixture.
I made the dish once during the winter using frozen corn. Don’t bother. Wait for the arrival of summer’s fresh corn. It’s still a bit early in the season, but yesterday I bought a few ears and cooked up a small pot of creamed corn. It was as good as I remembered.
It works well served with grilled fish. (Last night I served it with grilled tuna.) But sometime in the coming weeks I plan to serve it alongside these stuffed poblano peppers for a vegetarian meal.
Setting aside the flavor, The Cook appreciates the recipe’s limited number of ingredients (shallots, garlic, corn, olive oil, milk) and how quickly they come together. You don’t even have to finely mince the garlic and shallots — just slicing will do.
The hardest part, if you haven’t done it before, is cutting the corn off of the cob. You’ll find the kernels tend to go flying. To minimize the mess, I hold the corn at an angle, slicing the kernels off of the side facing the work surface and rotating the ear until I’ve run my knife over each part. That way most of the kernels fly right into the cutting board.