Fresh corn pudding is creamy treat
It’s not the heat; it’s the corn.
Really. Corn, like the rest of us, sweats. It slurps water from the soil and sweats through its underleaves. Millions of acres of sweating corn increase the humidity. It has been known to push the heat index past 130 degrees. That’s really hot. And really humid.
“Evapotranspiration” provokes debate, but some climatologists submit it’s changing the weather, causing thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Freaky. Or perhaps a freakishly unexpected side effect of large-scale, highdensity agriculture.
On these excruciating summer days, take it easy, keep exertion to a minimum and munch local, organic, low-density corn. It’s crisp, crunchy — and way cool.
Corn Pudding Butter, for ramekins
2 ears fresh corn, shucked 1 egg
cup cream 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon black or white 1/8 pepper
1 drop vanilla extract 1 tablespoon chopped fresh
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Pesto, bought or homemade (recipe follows) Generously butter two (½ cup) ramekins.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop in corn. Cook until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain corn. When cool enough to handle, cut kernels away from cobs.
Drop half the kernels into the blender. Add egg, cream, salt, pepper and vanilla. Blend completely. (There will be some lumps.) By hand, stir in remaining corn and the basil and thyme.
Pour into the prepared ramekins. Bake at 400 degrees until puffed, golden and set, about 15 minutes. (Stab with a wooden pick; it should come out clean.)
Serve topped with a spoonful of pesto. Makes 2 servings.
Pesto 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt Black pepper
4 cloves garlic
2 cups fresh basil leaves OR 11/ cups basil PLUS 2
1/2 cup mixed parsley, oregano and thyme
1 small tomato, chopped cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/3 cup freshly grated 1/3 Parmigiano-Regiano cheese
Combine the salt and several grinds black pepper in a food processor. With motor running, drop in garlic cloves, one at a time. Stop machine and add the herbs. Pulse to bits. Add the tomato. (I find a tomato cuts down on oiliness.) With motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Add the cheese and process until smooth. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Makes about 1 cup.
Chicago Tribune/TNS/MICHAEL TERCHA