Creamed Corn is Magic

Until recently, the only creamed corn I was familiar with was the runny gruel that came in a can.  I don’t remember ever eating it as a child, and actually the only reason I’m even familiar with it is because “canned creamed corn” is used to describe one of the aromas that a corked bottle of wine can have.  I bought a can just so I could have a whiff and understand what my gastronomy instructor was talking about.

Despite a bad first impression, last week I made some from fresh corn and found it sweet, velvety, and agreeable.

If you have a chinois, which is a very fine-meshed wire strainer, you can simply cut the kernels from the cob and purée them in a blender or juicer.  Passing the corn purée through the chinois will remove any tiny bits of the plastic-like kernel coverings that would spoil the texture of the final dish.

If you don’t have a chinois, there is a way to extract the sweet, pulpy interior of corn kernels without getting any of the kernel cover.  First cut the very tips of the kernels off the cob to expose the interior, like so:

Cutting the tips of the corn kernels to expose the interior

Then run the back of your knife along the cob to pop out the sweet, starchy filling, thusly:

Extracting the sweet, starchy interior of the corn kernels

This pulp can then be blitzed in a blender until very smooth.  If you managed to keep the kernel covers out, you shouldn’t need to strain the mixture.

Either way, you now have corn juice, which you will gently heat on the stove.  This is where the magic happens: the naturally-occurring starch in the corn juice will thicken the mixture!  It makes me feel like a dork, but I really get a kick out of this.  Be careful not to overheat the creamed corn as it may curdle.

Now whisk in heavy cream and butter, and season with salt and pepper.  For a bit of texture, add some whole corn kernels, or the tips of the kernels you removed, quickly blanched, to the dish.

A bowl of creamed corn with green onions

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