I'm spending a few days in what I'm told is the Mid-West of America (albeit the Northern Mid-West), a place I've never been to before. It's a land of lakes and fir trees and glittering silver birches, and flying in I was startled (and a little homesick) by the landscape's resemblance to Norway. Of course everyone who lives here is either Norwegian or Swedish.
My Minnesota hostess (who is also one of my best girlfriends) adapted a corn pudding from the book Local Flavors by Deborah Madison. Don't be put off by the name. The recipe is delicate and delicious. I've found that using a mellifluous deep-South accent -- as in "coooorrn puddin'" -- assures its proper status in culinary Americana. This is an American staple, transformed and updated by the use of fresh herbs and goat cheese. Up here, there is a farmer's market three times a week, and she used fresh corn as well as fresh parsley and chives cut from the selection of clay pots outside her kitchen door. The recipe has been adapted and she uses a combination of goat cheese and feta to give it its creamy sweet flavor.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
- Corn kernels cut from 6 fresh corn cobs
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup cream, milk or evaporated milk (we used milk)
- 1 cup grated cheese, such as fontina, cheddar or smoked Gouda (we used feta/goat cheese)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sweet paprika
Directions:Set an oven rack on the middle rung and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 6-cup gratin or baking dish.
In a medium skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, just until it's soft and lightly colored, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the corn kernels and cook 1 minute, regardless of whether the water returns to a boil. Drain; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, cream or milk, corn, cooked onion, cheese, parsley, if desired, marjoram and salt. Add pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with paprika. Bake until it is puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. Serve warm.