Fresh corn pud­ding is creamy treat

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NOTHWEST/TELEVISION - LEAH ESKIN

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

Corn Pud­ding

cup cream 1/4 tea­spoon kosher salt 1/4 tea­spoon black or white 1/8 pep­per

1 drop vanilla ex­tract 1 ta­ble­spoon chopped fresh

basil

1 tea­spoon fresh thyme

leaves

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

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