Friday, August 14, 2009


I haven't yet read The Omnivore's Dilemma, but I know enough about the book to know that Pollan brings to light a most disturbing fact that the bulk of America's diet is made up of one thing: corn. One journalist says, "We eat so much corn that, biologically speaking, most Americans are corn on two legs."

Terrifying as it sounds, I never gave much thought to the corn phenomenon until this month. It's been a strange summer for farmers -- a damaging drought in the south and an abundance of rain in the north -- but sweet corn has just popped up at the farmer's markets and I've been helping the corn diet statistic by eating my fair share.

Corn on the cob is my favorite way to eat it (and with some lime, cumin and cotija cheese it's never better) but like Pvt. Benjamin Buford 'Bubba' Blue felt about shrimp, I think there are just as many other fabulous ways to enjoy corn: corn pudding, corn muffins, corn chowder, corn fritters, corn souffle, and tonight... there was corn custard.

Though it was a departure from fresh-from-the-cob-corn (the farmer's market was closed by the time this recipe was added to our dinner plans), it was really tasty and found its place as the perfect compliment to the best homemade burger I've had in a long time. Since the recipe calls for canned creamed corn, this corn-tastic side can make it's way onto your plate all year long :)

Chile-Corn Custard Squares
Bon Appetit

3 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
2/3 cup Mexican blend cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canned creamed corn
2 tbsp. jalapeno, seeded and minced

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp. oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 8x8 metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in small bowl. Whisk egg, 1/3 cup cheese, sour cream, creamed corn, and remaining 2 tbsp. oil in large bowl. Add flour mixture; stir to blend. Stir in jalapeno and onions. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake until puffed and tester inserted comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool completely. Cut into 1-inch squares and serve with sour cream or salsa garnish.

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