I love corn. I really look forward to this time of year when local fresh corn is readily available. And not just any corn, but corn where I can see the fields behind the farm stand. I am obsessive. I actually find out what time the corn wagon comes in from the fields so I don’t buy “day old” corn. The first few weeks, my husband and I go crazy and can eat a dozen ears between the two of us. I don’t serve much more than a salad with chicken on it, so we can pig out on the corn and not feel too guilty. It’s one of the few times I add salt at the table…but corn with butter and salt. YUM. Hubby likes butter, salt and pepper. His section of tablecloth is a disaster area after Corn Fest, but I get it. We are both gluttons.
Then right about now the newness wears off and we are jaded about plain old corn on the cob. I still am mentally conned into buying a dozen ears each time, but increasingly there are 6-8 ears left in the pot after dinner. I dutifully cut the kernels off and put them away-who can waste this beautiful fresh from the field corn? I freeze some for out of season use, but I also make many dishes with corn for the summer season: black bean and corn salad, corn and tomato salad, chilled corn soup, stuffed zucchini and my favorite Maque Choux.
Maque Choux (pronounced Mock-shoe) is creamy, rich stewed corn dish that is most certainly Cajun. The trick to good Maque Choux is using very fresh corn so that you can scrape the pulp and milk out of the cobs which will give the dish it’s distinctive creaminess. I use both the milk from the cob and add some cream because I am using already steamed corn and there is less “milk” on the cob. Either way, this is a hit to everyone who tastes it.
4 TBL. unsalted butter
¼ C. Tasso, Andouille sausage or even bacon, finely diced
3 ears of corn, husked and cleaned (uncooked or cooked)
½ C, onion, finely diced*
¼ C, celery, finely diced*
½ C, green pepper, finely diced*
1 TBL. fresh thyme leaves
1 generous TBL. fresh garlic, minced
1 C. tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 TBL. heavy cream
½ C, scallions, finely diced
Kosher salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
*Called “the holy trinity” in Cajun cooking
- Cut the corn off the cob with a sharp knife. Don’t cut too deep. Into a separate bowl, scrape down the cob to extract the “milk”. Reserve the milk.
- Melt the butter in a skillet, add the Tasso (or Andouille or bacon) and cook over medium high heat until slightly brown.
- Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and thyme (and corn if it is uncooked) and season with a nice pinch of salt. Reduce the heat a bit and cook, stirring often until all the vegetables are tender-about 10 minutes.
4. Add the cooked corn now, if you haven’t added the corn in the step above.
5. Add the garlic, tomatoes, reserved corn milk and cream and cook over low heat, just simmering for another 15 minutes or until the cream has reduced and has coated the vegetables
6. Add another pinch of salt, some pepper, some cayenne to taste and the scallions.
7. Toss and serve.
Feel free to add more/less cream to taste or make this into a one dish supper by adding more Tasso or subbing crumbled Italian sausage.