Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thomas Keller's Sweet Creamed Corn




So I had a totally different recipe to share with you for my regular Monday post. But then, it just so happens that I was sitting at home on Saturday night (Boo. Life is not always exciting.) with a splitting migrane (Double Boo. Pain is never fun.) and flipping through the copy of Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home that I had just picked up from the library (Yay! Cookbooks are exciting and always fun!).  This cookbook is just filled to the brim with amazing recipes, but when I happened upon this creamed corn I knew with utter certainty that I needed to temporarily abandon those earlier plans and share this recipe with you instead.  I hadn't even made it yet, but I just knew that it would be a winner and that I would be typing this post today to tell you about it.   




I think I felt so certain for three main reasons.  First, I have been feeling a little low on inspiration lately, and for whatever reason (probably because Thomas Keller is amazing?), reading through Ad Hoc at Home chased away all of those lackluster feelings.  Second, the growing season for sweet corn has literally hit its own "sweet spot" which makes the taste simple and sublime.  Plus, corn seems to be the quintessential late-summer vegetable that we all eat in order to take a bite of those last rays of summer sunshine.  And don't let me forget, thirdly, I was so certain that I would share this recipe with you because it is from Thomas Keller.  And can anyone argue that is food is wonderful?        




Although I haven't fully absorbed all there is to take in from Ad Hoc at Home, one thing I can say is that it definitely feels like you really learning the recipes from Thomas himself.  Unlike in most other cookbooks where there are glossy photos of arranged food and the occasional step-by-step instruction on technique (though this book also has loads of those), Thomas's face and hands seem to be all over this book.  And he is not just giving you stern looks and serious posed faces, but rather, images of real concentration as he makes his own mozzarella, or a sly smile when he tells you 'I really do love to spoon.'  (And just to be clear, all we can be sure about is that he loves to use large kitchen spoons to taste as he cooks.  Lets not get carried away here.)  In the foreword and all throughout the book, it also feels like you really hear his 'voice' when he is telling you about the idiosyncrasies of his kitchen preferences or when he is explaining the specifics of recipe ingredients.  So far, it makes me feel like I might be spending a little quality time with Thomas Keller, and I like that.  I will tell you more about what I think of Ad Hoc at Home after I test out a few more recipes, but for now... back to the corn!         



In his book Thomas suggests that as part of his family-style cooking he likes to pull out vegetables and starches and serve them as stand-alone sides, and I couldn't agree more.  When you have fresh, in-season corn that is so perfectly sweet you wish summer could be everyday of the year... then yes, that corn can stand perfectly on its own two little feet and wow you as a side dish. And if we throw in a little (ok, it is a lot) butter and cream to give that corn a base to stand on, well, I don't think anyone would complain about that.  And I had no idea the surprise I was in for when I discovered just how perfectly that little bit of lime juice and lime zest works in this recipe.    



This sweet creamed corn was really truly wonderful.  Not the kind of wonderful that bowls you over with the first bite, but rather, the sort of wonderful that just hums through your body radiating warmth and comfort.  At its root, isn't that really what this dish is: Comfort food?  This corn would pair equally well with a family dinner of pork or shellfish, or as Thomas suggests, his Buttermilk Fried Chicken.  Maybe that is the recipe I should try out next!  

Anyway you look at it, this is a dish that you or your family would love.  So indulge yourself and enjoy those last days of summer sunshine and sweet corn. 





Thomas Keller's Sweet Creamed Corn
Adapted (to include even more butter and cream) from Ad Hoc at Home
(This is about 3 servings, I halved the recipe)

Ad Hoc at Home


3 ears of in-season, fresh sweet corn (yellow or white)
2 tablespoons butter (original recipe would have been 1 1/2 tbsps)
Juice from 1/2 lime
Zest from 1/2 lime
1/2 cup heavy cream
Small pinch of cayenne pepper (or if we are measuring, 1/2 of 1/8 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon minced chives
Salt to taste


Remove the husks and as much of the silks from the corn as possible, and prepare a large bowl filled with water.  Hold the each corn upright, with the bottom of the cob flat on a cutting board, and use a large chef's knife to slice vertically down down the cob towards the cutting board to remove all the kernels.  Reserve the cobs.  **Place the kernels in the bowl of water and swish around with your hands; some of the excess silks will get stuck on your hands, and then just run your hands under water to remove the silks.  Repeat this until you feel you have removed as much of the silks as possible.  Drain the corn, and transfer it to a medium bowl.  Use the back of a knife (non sharp side) to scrape the reserved corn cobs to collect any last kernels and remaining corn 'milk' into the medium bowl.


Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the corn and lime juice, stirring to combine well.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed by the corn, about 15 minutes.  Add the cream, lime zest, and cayenne pepper, and cook for another 6-8 minutes, stirring, until the corn has absorbed the cream.  Add the minced chives, and salt to taste.  Stir well and serve immediately.          


**This is part of what Thomas refers to as "Lightbulb Moments" in his book.  Next to particular recipes, he lists those ah-ha! examples of times when he discovered more simple or effective ways of accomplishing tasks.  In this particular recipe, he finds that this method of soaking the kernels in water to remove the extra silks is the best he has found.  It worked alright for me, but I was still picking out plenty of silks after swishing my hands around for awhile.  I may have perfectionist tendencies, so I painstakingly picked through to remove them all.  Do whatever you like; if a little silks here and there doesn't bother you or you don't have irrational tendencies like I do, you can completely skip this washing step. 


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41 comments:

  1. Good golly... this looks absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS! I've actually not had any fresh corn on the cob this summer yet! And it's almost over, lol. I'll be trying this recipe out when summer school ends in a week and a half :-)

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  2. Sorry to hear that you were not feeling well - that is certainly a drag, especially on a Saturday night. I absolutely LOVE my Ad Hoc Cookbook. Hopefully it will be one you invest in - you will not be dissapointed. I MUST try this corn. Looks supreme!

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  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE fresh corn! I'm printing this recipe and making it this week!! :)

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  4. I love corn, fresh, or canned. The creamed corn looks delish.

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  5. This is a FAB recipe...I made it a couple of weeks ago and LOVED it!!!

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  6. The Ad Hoc cookbook is at the top of my wish list, I love Thomas Keller's food!

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  7. What a wonderful review of Ad Hoc! I liked your mention of how much Thomas is all over the book so you feel you're really learning from the master. Like you, I checked it out from the library and it's now on my wish list!

    Thanks for the Creamed Corn recipe. Must try!

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  8. I love Ad Hoc at Home!! It's really a great book using Keller's amazing talent to show the world how to prepare more accessible dishes than the fancier ones offered in his other books. I truly am a fan! I haven't tried the creamed corn yet, but there are SO many amazing-looking ones to try! Good luck with the rest of your recipe testing!

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  9. I've got more corn than I know what to do with--thanks for the wonderful recipe! It doesn't look nearly as liquidy as most cream corn recipes. I'm adding this our menu this week!

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  10. i have made this and yes, it is delicious! lovely photos!

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  11. yum, creamed corn is one of my favorite summer side dishes. yours looks scrumptious! that book is on my reading list, but i haven't made it that far down yet. looking forward even more to it!

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  12. I have some corn in my fridge, now I now what I'm going to do with it, Thanks! Sorry you weren't feeling good, hope you are feeling better!

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  13. This looks delicious. I wish I had bought some corn this weekend so I could make this right now. Love creamed corn.

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  14. This looks divine, he is my favorite too.

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  15. can't go wrong with creamed corn! such a great side dish... i love love love corn!

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  16. Oh wow! That is one beautiful bowl of sweet corn. Now you have me craving it, it looks delicious!

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  17. This looks so delicious- and just in time for the last of the sweet corn around here. Thanks for the tip about washing the silks out. My mom always says "Whoever eats the most corn eats the most silks!" :)

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  18. Ad hoc, is an amazing book, Thomas Keller has an spot in my heart. loved the way you used the husk for presentation. Have a great week Amanda.

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  19. Yep. It's all about the "corn milk." My Great Aunt Maggie makes the best creamed corn, but it's hard to replicate because, of course, there is no recipe! TK is the MAN. (Although something makes me think he'd probably not approve of my calling him that.)

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  20. This looks wonderful,nothing better than fresh corn :) Sorry about your migraine :( Hope you are much better now...

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  21. Mmm this sounds like something I'd like to eat for thanksgiving :)

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  22. Holy wow that sounds amazing. I've only had creamed corn from a can, when I was a kid, but I loved it so much that I'm sure this would blow me away. Corn is one of the best summers foods, I'm totally craving some now!

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  23. Perfect way for utilizing summer corn at its peak. This sounds pretty simple too! I would like to get myself a copy of that book.

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  24. Sorry to hear about your migraine, but glad Thomas Keller cheered you up :)I love flipping through new cookbooks, too. This dish sounds divine!

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  25. A wonderfully delicious summer side dish! Yum!

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  26. Ahhh… cream, corn and Thomas Keller! You just know thats a combination that will never let you down :) I love corn and am always looking for new ways to use it… bookmarking!

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  27. Thanks for the Keller recipe and the review of ad hoc at home. I had heard a not so great review of this book so it's nice to hear a good review as well. The Sweat Creamed Corn recipe looks awesome (nice pics!)

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  28. Mmmmm, creamed corn in delicious, I love adding it to soups for creaminess. I really want to pick up a copy of "Ad Hoc at Home"

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  29. Sounds scrumptious!!! I wish my hubby liked creamed corn. May have to make this just for me while he's playing bridge... Great photos!! Kate @kateiscooking

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  30. I've made this as well! Yes you are right - it's such a fantastic recipe...once you try this, you will never go back to canned cream corn again!

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  31. I'm not familiar with this cookbook, but now feel I must check it out!! I'm obsessing with corn this summer, this looks really good. Thanks!

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  32. I'm loving how sweet corn is all the rave this summer. don't you remember growing up eating it all the time!? I love it!

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  33. what a wonderful way to serve that delicious fresh corn we have! Thomas Keller really knows his stuff, and you did a great job with his recipe!

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  34. YUM! I have yet to eat a Keller recipe that I didn't like and this one looks like a true winner as well.

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  35. I have been meaning to make this for a while. I have the corn ready- beautiful peaches & cream Colorado corn. Maybe tomorrow. I love that book!

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  36. I HAVE to try this! Looks so simple yet so good.

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  37. Every Thomas Keller recipe I see makes me drool and this is no exception! I think the last of the summer corn is still around so I'm definitely making this soon! :)

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  38. I love sweet corn so I think it would taste me :)

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  39. This looks so good...you've inspired me. I'm going to try to make it with dinner tomorrow for the holiday! Hopefully there's still some good looking corn at the market. Hope you have a lovely holiday!

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  40. How long until summer comes and corn is in season again!?!?!?!/

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