Saturday, September 5, 2009

How to Make Fried Corn (aka Creamed Corn)

It's a little late in the season, but there might still be time to make this dish if you have access to fresh corn. It is called Fried Corn, because it is cooked with butter in a skillet, but it is not
deep-fried nor is it cooked hard or crisp. It is also known as "Creamed Corn" in some places. Think of it as an Okie corn version of refried beans. :-)

This is a very old recipe, from Mema's childhood. She was raised on a dairy farm, and every once in a while on Sunday, she would make what she called "Country Dinner", with many fresh vegetable dishes in season, and fried corn was often part of that.

The secret to success is that it must be made with fresh corn that you shuck yourself - and the fresher the better. If you can get it from a roadside stand or from a U-pick place, or if a gardening friend gives you some corn on the cob, that is the time to make fried corn.

You can make this with as little as one ear of corn. For these photos, I used 4 ears and 1/2 a stick of butter.

Take your corn and remove the shucks and silks. It can be less messy to do that outside. Don't worry about getting all the silks off, a few cooked in the dish won't hurt anything.

Over a large cutting board, cut the corn off the cob. Here it is better to make several goes at it so it's actually best if you only get part of the kernals the first time around.

VERY IMPORTANT: After you've cut off the kernals, take the back of the knife and run it down the cob, all the way around, scraping the milk and pulp from the cob. I use the BACK of the blade, not the sharp edge, because the goal is to scrape out the pulp, not to cut any more. For safety, use a butter knife or even the edge of a spoon for this part.

When you think you've finished, set the cob aside in a bowl and after all the corn is cut off, scrape the cobs again. you will be surprised how much liquid and pulp is still there.

Get your skillet hot (non-stick is very nice) and melt 1/2 stick of butter, then add the corn. Cook at medium high heat, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom so it won't stick, for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the corn has brightened its color and is cooked through. It doesn't take long.

Add salt to taste. If your corn has been picked a few days (bought from the grocery store, for instance), you can add a couple of tablespoons of cream and 1/4 tsp of sugar (a pinch) to help it along.

It holds well so you can go ahead and take it up while you finish getting the rest of the meal.

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