The original creamed corn likely did not have any cream at all: Native Americans scraped the cobs of their milky, starchy juices and simmered them with kernels until everything was thick and creamy. This recipe — which works with any frozen, canned or fresh corn — builds a similar silkiness by blending some of the cooked corn. Half-and-half adds richness, but not so much that it mutes the sweetness of the corn like heavy cream can. There’s no one way to flavor creamed corn; you can add herbs, cheese and peppers to make maque choux, or add nothing at all.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2tablespoons finely chopped shallots, yellow onion or scallions
- About 4 1/2 cups corn kernels (see Tip)
- ⅔cup half-and-half, plus more as needed
- Pinch of cayenne or 1 teaspoon thyme leaves (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- Grated Parmesan or chopped parsley, chives or tarragon (optional), for serving
Step 1In a large pot, heat the butter over medium. When melted, add the shallots and cook until softened, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the corn, half-and-half and cayenne or thyme, if using; stir to combine. When you see bubbles around the edge of the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the corn is tender, 5 to 10 minutes for frozen and canned corn and 10 to 15 minutes for fresh corn. (Do not add salt yet; it will toughen the corn.) Remove from heat.
Step 2Transfer a third of the corn (about 1 cup) to a blender and blend until very smooth. (Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of half-and-half to get things moving in the blender, if necessary.) Stir the purée back into the corn mixture. If the creamed corn is too loose, simmer uncovered over medium-low until thickened. If the creamed corn is too tight, thin with more half-and-half.
Step 3Season to taste with salt and pepper, then top with serving additions, if desired.