Nothing says summer more to me than corn. The first time I went corn picking I was 10. My family drove out to a u-pick farm in late August on a muggy, hot afternoon. Driving up, the rows and rows of corn seemed endless. The cornstalks were well above my head and even though it would have been so easy to get lost, I wasn’t worried. It was cooler in the rows of corn.
We must have picked over 50 ears of corn and before we left, the farmer told us we should try it raw, so we did. Raw corn fresh off the cob is the sweetest, freshest corn you’ll ever taste. Back then, Thomas Keller’s creamed corn recipe didn’t exist, but if it did, I’m sure we would have used some of those 50 ears to create his dish.
Creamy, sweet, with the freshness of limes and the merest hint of heat thanks to cayenne, this creamed corn is so much more than what you imagine. It would be perfect as a side dish for a barbecue, which is what I’ll be doing today to celebrate Canada’s birthday. Happy Canada Day!
serves 2, generously
2 ears of supersweet corn, shucked
1 large lime
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons heavy cream
pinch of cayenne
3/4 tablespoon finely chopped chives
With a sharp knife, cut vertically down each ear of corn to slice off the kernels. Put the kernels in a large bowl, then hold each cob over the bowl and use a spoon or the back of a knife to scrape any remaining corn and the milk from the cob.
Grate the zest of the lime and set aside. Cut the lime in half.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the corn, squeeze about 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, or to taste, over the corn, and season with salt.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, concentrating the flavour, and the corn is beginning to sizzle, 15 to 17 minutes.
Stir in the cream, the cayenne, and lime zest. Continue to cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cream is absorbed by the corn. Add salt to taste, stir in the chives and enjoy hot.
Notes: I used key limes instead of a regular lime and substituted green onions for the chives and this dish still turned out wonderful. For the corn sizzling, it only took from 5-8 minutes, probably because I used less corn. Ditto with the cream absorbing time, so adjust accordingly.
This creamed summer corn is by far the easiest and least finicky Keller recipe I have ever made, and one of the best.