Thursday, November 27, 2008

Savory Corn Pudding with Herbs & Shallots

I made several Thanksgiving dishes for my friend Margie and her family this year. Margie's daughter loves corn, and Margie asked me to find a corn dish for her similar to the corn souffle that Margie used to make before a bad back inhibited her ability to spend hours on her feet in the kitchen. Of course, souffle's can't be made ahead, so that was out of the question.

Anyway.... I searched a LOT and found Sagaponack corn pudding by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, and I liked the technique in it, but not the combination of flavors. The pudding is incredibly easy to assemble despite the list of ingredients, so I recreated it with flavors I thought worked better than those in the original.

So,apologies to the Contessa, but here's my version:
  • 5 cups frozen corn
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter in a large skillet. Add corn, onion, garlic, shallot, thyme, dill and pepper. Saute about 8 minutes and let cool.

Step 2:
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half plus 1/2 cup milk OR
  • 1 cup half & half plus 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Gruyere or Swiss cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan-Romano cheese blend
Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add half & half and milk and whisk together. Whisk in ricotta (it will dissolve). Whisk in cornmeal, a tablespoon at a time. Add seasonings and salt, then corn and vegetables. Add 3/4 cup cheddar, Swiss or Grueyere and 2 tablespoons Parmesan blend. Pour into a buttered large casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheeses over the top.

Heat oven to 375 while making pudding. Place a large roasting pan in the oven and fill halfway with very hot water. Place casserole dish in roasting pan so the pudding will cook with more gentle heat and some steam. Bake about 45 minutes or until the center is set and tester inserted into the middle is clean.

Let stand 15 minutes before serving. With a green salad, this is a great unexpected lunch and also the perfect side to roasted chicken or roast beef.

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