Corn recipes, Aug. 7, 2008

  • Updated: August 7, 2008 - 7:40 AM

NICK AND EDDIE SWEET CORN SUCCOTASH

Serves 4 as a side dish.

Note: From Steve Vranian of Nick and Eddie in Minneapolis. "This is great as a side dish with grilled fish or meat," he said. "At the restaurant I also like to add fava beans. I like their bright color, and they add protein." He starts with a pound of beans, shelling them, peeling their outer membrane and splitting them in half, to yield about 1/4 cup. Vranian adds them to the corn just before he removes the pan from the heat.

• About 2 to 4 ears fresh sweet corn, enough to yield 1 c. corn

kernels

• 1 red bell pepper

• 1 poblano chile pepper

• Splash of water (or chicken or vegetable stock)

• 2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Husk and remove silk from corn. With a sharp serrated knife, cut kernels from cobs. (Vranian writes, "Don't cut too close to the cob. I find it best to hold the cob on the bottom of a sheet pan to catch the kernels.")

Preheat charcoal grill (or use a gas or electric stove top). Roast red bell pepper and poblano chile pepper by placing them directly on charcoal (or stove top heat element), turning frequently to get an even blister. (This also could be done under a broiler in the oven.)

Place charred peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam for 10 minutes. ("Don't be tempted to rinse the peppers under water," writes Vranian. "It will spoil their flavor.") Cut off tops off peppers. Core and seed peppers (discarding core and seeds), peel off charred skin (discarding skin) and chop, yielding 2 tablespoons red bell pepper and 2 tablespoons poblano chile pepper.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine corn, red bell pepper and poblano chile pepper and a splash of water. Cook for 4 minutes, or until vegetables are just cooked through. (If using fava beans, add beans and stir quickly over heat to combine).

Remove from heat, add butter, salt and pepper. Stir to melt butter into corn and serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving (without addition of beans):

Calories 110 Fat 6 g Sodium 640 mg

Carbohydrates 14 g Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 6 mg

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 15 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1 fat.

MODERN CAFE CORN CHOWDER

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. From Phillip Becht of the Modern Cafe in Minneapolis. "We served this soup garnished with clams, grilled shrimp and Spanish chorizo," said Becht. "But you may do as you please." For white wine, Becht suggests using "the one in the back of your fridge that you opened last week when crazy Aunt Mildred dropped by." For the first of the recipe's potatoes, Becht suggests using "what is handy, grown nearby and enjoyed by the family." Water can be substituted for clam juice. One last tip: "Don't skimp on the corn," said Becht. "You really need [at least] a full 6 cups. Use a lot."

• About 6 to 12 ears fresh sweet corn (enough to yield 6 c. kernels)

• 3 c. peeled and diced potatoes

• 3 tbsp. olive oil

• 2 c. coarsely chopped yellow onion

• 4 c. peeled and coarsely chopped russet potatoes

• 2 tbsp. minced garlic

• 2 tbsp. freshly minced ginger

• 1/2 tsp. turmeric

• 2 c. white wine

• 1 quart clam juice

• 1 c. heavy cream

• 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

• 2 c. seeded, cored and diced red peppers

• 2 c. diced celery hearts

• Salt

• 11/2 tbsp. chopped fresh summer savory

Directions

To prepare corn: Place corn cobs (still in their husks) in a large pot, cover with cold water and 1 tablespoon salt and soak for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove cobs from water, pat dry and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 50 minutes, until cobs feel slightly soft to the touch. Remove from oven and allow cobs to cool to room temperature.

Shuck cobs and with a sharp knife carefully cut kernels from cobs, then use back of knife to run across cob to scrape the cob's milk into kernels. Divide kernels into two 3-cup batches and reserve cobs.

To prepare soup base: In a large pot over high heat, bring salted water to a boil. Add diced potatoes and blanch for 6 to 8 minutes, until potatoes are just tender enough to be pierced by a fork. Plunge potatoes into ice water, drain and reserve.

In a large stock pot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onions and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add russet potatoes and cook for about 3 minutes. Add 3 cups roasted corn kernels, corn cobs, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Cook, stirring occasionally, until corn kernels get soft, about 5 minutes.

Add wine, bring to a simmer and reduce liquid by half. Add 3 quarts water and clam juice, bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes become very soft, at least 45 minutes and up to an hour. ("This is very important," said Becht. "For the texture of the soup to be correct, it must be really, really velvety-tasting. If you purée the soup too soon, it will have a grit to it and this is not desirable. Be patient.")

When potatoes and corn kernels are very soft, remove corn cobs and, working in batches, using a blender on high speed, purée soup, adding enough cream to each batch to use entire cup. Pass puréed soup through a fine-mesh sieve. ("At this point, you should have a soup that is a brilliant yellow color and will coat a spoon," said Becht. "Keep in mind that it will thicken quite a bit as it cools; only practice will tell how much, but for now, just don't worry too much if it seems somewhat thin, it will change.")

Transfer soup to a covered container and refrigerate until cool, at least 1 hour.

To serve: In a large bowl, combine chilled soup, reserved roasted corn kernels, reserved diced potatoes, jalapeños, red peppers and celery hearts. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt. Ladle soup into chilled bowls, garnish with summer savory and serve.

Nutrition information per serving of 6:

Calories 500 Fat 21 g Sodium 419 mg

Protein 9 g Cholesterol 49 mg Dietary fiber 10 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 3 bread/starch, 2 other carb, 4 fat.

HEIDI'S MINNEAPOLIS CRÊPES WITH CORN PUDDING

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. From Heidi Woodman of Heidi's Minneapolis. To extract juice from corn kernels, press kernels though an extractor-style juicer. Or run a sharp knife blade down each row of kernels. Stand ear in the base of a medium bowl and run a spoon along kernels with enough pressure to express milk and pulp, but leave skin behind. Strain milk through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding pulp.

For corn pudding:

• 1 tbsp. cornstarch

• 1 tbsp. water

• 2 c. fresh corn juice (kernels from about 8 to 10 ears fresh sweet corn)

• Pinch of salt

For crêpe batter:

• 11/2 c. milk

• 2 eggs

• 1/3 c. water

• 2/3 c. corn flour

• 2/3 c. all-purpose flour

• 2 tbsp. sugar

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 2 tbsp. melted butter, cooled

For caramel sauce:

• 1 c. sugar

• 1/2 c. water

• 1/2 c. hot water

• 1 tbsp. whiskey

For meringue:

• 3 egg whites

• 6 tbsp. sugar

For crêpes:

• Canola oil

• Kosher salt

Directions

To prepare corn pudding: In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water to make a thin paste. As soon as corn is juiced (see note), place juice in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring as juice heats and thickens.

When corn juice reaches a gentle boil, gently whisk paste into corn juice, add a pinch of salt, and simmer, gently stirring as mixture thickens, approximately 3 minutes. Strain pudding through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

To prepare crêpe batter: In a blender, combine milk, eggs, water, corn flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, vanilla extract and melted butter and blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

To prepare caramel sauce: Place sugar in a clean, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 1/2 cup water and cook until sugar melts and becomes brown; do not stir sugar. ("First the water evaporates, then the sugar turns to caramel," said Woodman. "My pastry chef's trick. It's a much more forgiving method, and it's easier to prevent crystallization.") Stand back and carefully add hot water to sugar (it will splash). Stir in whiskey. Remove from heat, cover to keep warm and reserve.

To prepare meringue: In bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip egg whites until frothy. Add sugar and continue to whip until soft, shiny peaks form. Gently whisk corn pudding and fold into meringue.

To prepare crêpes: Stir batter and thin with a little milk if necessary. Heat a seasoned nonstick crêpe pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Wipe pan lightly with canola oil. Remove pan from heat and pour about 1/4 cup of batter into pan, tilting to coat surface. Return pan to heat and cook about 1 minute, until crêpe is lightly browned on edge.

Flip crêpe (Woodman suggests using your fingers), and cook other side for just a moment. Transfer crêpe to a plate to cool. Repeat (you will have excess batter), stacking crêpes as you cook.

When ready to serve, fill crêpe with corn pudding/meringue mixture and fold. Drizzle with caramel sauce, sprinkle with kosher salt and serve.

Nutrition information per serving of 10:

Calories 260 Fat 6 g Sodium 110 mg

Carbohydrates 46 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 71 mg

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 51 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 1 other carb, 1 fat.

MERITAGE SWEET CORN PANCAKES WITH HONEY-PECAN BUTTER

Serves 6 to 8.

Note: From Russell Klein of Meritage in St. Paul. To toast pecans, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake, 6 to 8 minutes, turning pecans occasionally, until pecans are brown and aromatic. Remove from oven and cool completely.

For honey-pecan butter:

• 1/4 lb. (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

• 2 tbsp. honey

• 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

• 2/3 c. pecans, toasted and finely chopped

• Salt

For corn pancakes:

• 6 c. fresh sweet corn kernels (about 6 to 12 cobs)

• 1 c. corn flour

• 1 c. all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp. baking powder

• 1 tsp. sugar

• 3 eggs

• 6 egg yolks

• 2 tbsp. freshly chopped chives

• 2 c. heavy cream

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• Butter for griddle

Directions

To prepare honey-pecan butter: In bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter with honey and cinnamon until smooth. Fold in pecans, season with salt and reserve.

To prepare pancakes: In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch corn kernels until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove from water, drain, transfer to a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse until kernels are roughly chopped and reserve.

In a large bowl, sift together corn flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolks together. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in chives and cream and mix to combine.

Fold in corn purée and season with salt and pepper to taste. Warm a griddle over medium heat. Season with a pat of butter and ladle 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. When pancake surface is gently bubbling, flip over and cook for 1 additional minute. Repeat with remaining batter and serve immediately with honey-pecan butter.

Nutrition information per serving of 8:

Calories 648 Fat 45 g Sodium 490 mg

Carbohydrates 56 g Saturated fat 23 g Calcium 143 mg

Protein 13 g Cholesterol 335 mg Dietary fiber 6 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 2 other carb, 1 medium-fat meat, 8 fat.

RUSTICA SWEET CORN BREAD

Makes 2 loaves.

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. From Steve Horton of Rustica in Minneapolis. Horton suggests using King Arthur and General Mills bread flours. When baking, Horton measures dry ingredients by weight rather than volume; for this recipe's measurements by weight, go to startribune.com/taste.

For sponge:

• 3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. bread flour

• 1/2 c. plus 1/8 tsp. water at 72 degrees, divided

• Pinch dry instant yeast

For bread:

• 3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. low-protein bread flour

• 1/4 c. plus 3 tbsp. corn flour

• 1 tbsp. plus 21/2 tsp. olive oil

• 3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. water, at 80 degrees, divided

• 1/2 tsp. sea salt

• 3/4 tsp. dry instant yeast

• 1/2 c. coarse cornmeal

• 1 c. sweet corn kernels

Directions

To prepare sponge: In a large bowl, add flour and most of water, holding back a small amount. Using an electric mixer fitted with a bread hook attachment, mix on lowest speed for 30 seconds to allow flour and water to incorporate.

Stop mixer and, using a spatula or plastic scraper, scrape bottom of bowl upward and sides of bowl downward; you want all of dough chunks together to create an even incorporation.

Add yeast, return speed to low and slowly add remaining water, stopping mixer to occasionally scrape again; if dough works its way up hook, stop mixer and scrape it down. Your total incorporation time with mixer set at lowest speed is 4 minutes. ("You want a firm but hydrated mass," said Horton.)

Depending on flour, you may have to add an additional small amount of water. At end of 4 minutes, increase mixer speed to second speed and mix for 1 minute. Transfer dough to a lidded plastic container and leave at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate overnight.

To prepare corn: The next day, bring a large salted pot of water to boil over high heat and blanch corn for 2 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature.

To prepare bread: In a large bowl, combine bread flour and corn flour. Remove sponge from refrigerator, tear into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Add olive oil and most of water, holding a small amount back.

Using an electric mixer fitted with a bread hook attachment, mix on lowest speed for 30 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape as before; you want all of dough chunks together in an even incorporation. Add salt and mix, incorporating salt into dough. Slowly add remaining water and mix for another 30 seconds.

Add yeast and continue to mix, stopping occasionally to scrape again. Your total incorporation time with mixer in lowest speed is 4 minutes. Depending on flour, you may have to add a small amount of additional water. ("You want a soft, wet mass," said Horton.)

At end of 4 minutes, increase speed to second speed and mix for 3 additional minutes, stopping mixer occasionally to scrape again. At end of 3 minutes, reduce speed to low and add cornmeal and prepared sweet corn. You may have to drizzle some water to assist with incorporation. Continue mixing for 2 more minutes.

Place dough in a lidded container, but leave lid gently placed on top; do not seal. Ferment at room temperature for 45 minutes, then transfer dough to a floured surface. Fold dough in thirds like a letter and return it to almost-lidded container for another 45 minutes.

Divide dough into two equal pieces, gently form dough into balls, place on a lightly floured surface, cover them with a light cloth and let dough proof for 30 minutes. Gently flatten loaf with your palm. Fold dough from bottom to middle and repeat from top to middle, creating a rough rectangle.

Take top of rectangle (lengthwise) and fold it to bottom of rectangle (lengthwise). Using palm of your hand, seal bottom edge of loaf by starting on one side and working your way to other side. Place dough seam side down and gently elongate loaf to about 7 inches.

Repeat with other loaf. Cover both loaves with a cloth to proof, about 11/2 hours. ("Loaves are ready when a gentle indentation with a finger comes back slowly," said Horton.)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees and place a baking stone inside. Using a sharp knife, score top of loaves in a decorative style of your choosing. Spritz stone with water and place the loaves directly on stone. Spritz loaves thoroughly with water and close oven door. After 2 minutes, open oven door and spritz loaves again. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, tapping bottoms of loaves for doneness. Remove from oven and transfer bread to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutrition information per serving (1 of 8 slices per loaf):

Calories 106 Fat 2 g Sodium 75 mg

Carbohydrates 19 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 8 mg

Protein 3 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber...............1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1/2 fat.

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