It takes a lot for me to convince myself to cut corn off of the cob, because everyone knows that God intended it to be eaten directly off of the cob. It’s enough work to remove the husks and all those pesky little silks. Cutting it from the cob seems almost criminal. Which I suppose is why it took me so long to make this recipe (from Barefoot Contessa Family Style).
This was worth the sacrifice of fresh corn, but I’m willing to bet that this would be almost as good with frozen corn, say for Thanksgiving. Before making it, I poked around, reading the Food Network website’s comments on this recipe, which is actually a good idea for any recipe that’s been around for a while. There are always the crazies that say things like, “I substituted tofu and kimchi for the lobster and cream, and it didn’t really turn out all that well.” But there were actually some helpful comments, too, suggesting cutting back on the cheese, and the salt. Generally, I never use as much salt as called for in Barefoot Contessa recipes, and this was no exception. I substituted sour cream for the ricotta, and I used a smaller portion of sharp cheddar. There was also a suggestion to use all milk instead of some half-and-half, so I used that suggestion, too. The onions and butter together really made the dish, and the smell of them cooking together reminded me of Thanksgiving morning – it’s the way we always start our stuffing. And yet the fresh corn was pure summer, as the basil would have been if I had remembered to add it.
Neither the recipe nor the comments explained where in God’s name Sagoponack is, and why this recipe was included in Ina’s “Tex-Mex” episode. In my homeland, this would have been made by throwing together a couple of cans of whole kernel corn with some cans of creamed corn and some saltine crackers crumbled on top for good measure. I much prefer this method, which prefers a fresh, light custard. For holidays, it would work well with the musical chairs of dishes in the oven, because I think it could be baked at a slightly higher or lower temperature with a time adjustment, and it tastes just fine and stays warm even after being out of the oven for a while.
I know it was good when even The Kitchen Osler didn’t complain. But I did notice that he watched me feed it to my baby first, to make sure I wasn’t poisoning him.