This is about...
extreme creamed corn
        Well, IT'S ALMOST FALL in Woodstock, BUT THE WAVES OF HEAT HERE HAVE INTENSIFIED instead of waned. So it's no surprise that in this blistering heat, summer foods still call out my name. AND CORN'S ON THE TOP OF MY LIST. This EXTREME CREAMED CORN, so named for it's CORNY INTENSITY, ACTUALLY HAS NO CREAM IN IT. Just the condensed flavor of the last vestiges of summer. I'm a purist when it comes to corn and this is as pure as it gets. MY CORN MANTRA has always been: LOTS OF BUTTER, SALT AND PEPPER. I can never get past that version, even though fresh herbs, different cheeses, or cream, even lime butter might all be delicious. But, don't let me stop you from gilding the lily.
        THIS IS YUMMY ON IT'S OWN, BUT HERE I'VE TOPPED IT WITH A SIMPLE MUSHROOM RAGU. Again, deferring to the intense flavor of the mushrooms to usher in a little fall on my plate. But if you want to kick it up a notch, you could throw in whatever late summer crops you like--basil, tomatoes, fresh thyme, garlic. Even some wine or vermouth would be a welcome addition.
        DON'T WAIT TOO LONG THOUGH TO BUY THAT CORN. This heat has to eventually turn into snowflakes--DOESN'T IT?

LESSONS Learned:
1. Once you get the corn home, take a few minutes to cut the kernels off the cob and add the water. It needs to sit in the fridge overnight anyway. Up to 2 days is ok.
2. Save the cooking water to thin out the corn mixture, just in case. But you probably won't need it.
3. Want to eat your corn now? Skip the soaking part, and make sure to save the cooking water. The unsoaked corn will most likely need some extra liquid when you process it.
4. Both the creamed corn and the mushrooms can be frozen separately for a fresh taste of summer in the winter.
5. Wash those mushrooms! I know what you're thinking-- they'll absorb the water and wiping them with a brush or dry cloth is the only way to go--but Alton Brown disproved that theory.


For the Creamed Corn:
2 pounds of fresh corn kernels, cut from about 8 ears of corn
3 1/2 cups water
3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For the Mushrooms:
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced about 1/8th inch thick
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

Make the Creamed Corn:
        Place the corn kernels and water in a sealed container in the fridge overnight or for up to 2 days.
        When ready to use, place the corn kernels, their soaking water and the salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Place strainer over an heatproof bowl and drain the corn, saving the cooking liquid. Add the corn kernels to the bowl of a food processor and process for about 3 minutes. You want the kernels to be broken down. If it becomes too thick to process, add the cooking liquid a Tablespoon at a time.
        Return the mixture to the pot, add the butter, and more salt if desired, and heat through. If the mixture is too dry, add more of the cooking liquid. Alternatively, if it's too thin cook for a few more minutes.

Make the Mushrooms:
        In a large saute pan, heat the oil and add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Cook over medium high heat until the mushrooms have released their liquid. Then continue cooking until very browned stirring frequently, about 5-8 minutes. Season with more salt and serve over the corn.

Makes 4-6 servings. YUM!
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