Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Iron Skillet Southern (Country) Fried Corn

Fried corn is a southern favorite; this was and still is my first and preferred for creamed style corn . I always knew it as country fried.
(Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings)

 4 slices of bacon
10-12 ears of white, yellow or bi-color corn on the cob, shucked, stripped and
scraped (sometimes referred to as milking the cob)
    1/2 tablespoon of granulated sugar
    4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
    1/2 cup of whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream (optional)
    Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
    Kosher salt, only if needed (taste first!)  
In a large cast iron skillet, chop bacon and cook to crisp; remove and set aside, reserving the drippings in the skillet. While that is cooking, clean the corn, except remove only the tops of the corn kernels. Then, using the blunt side of the knife, scrape the remaining pulp and milk from the cob. Sprinkle the kernels with the sugar; stir and set aside.
In the same skillet that you fried the bacon in, add all of the butter to the bacon drippings and melt over medium heat. Add all of the corn, pulp and juices, and about 1 tablespoon of the cream. Continue cooking over medium low heat, stirring often and adding additional cream as the corn begins to dry, just enough to keep the corn slightly moist. Reduce to low and cook about 30 minutes, or until corn is tender. Add pepper and half of the bacon; taste and adjust for salt only as needed. Transfer corn to serving dish, crumble remaining bacon on top and sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Recipe may easily be halved.

Cook's Notes: Turn heat up to medium high at the end to brown, if desired. Substitute well-drained canned or frozen corn when fresh is out of season - 3/4 cup of kernels is roughly equal to 1 ear. Allow frozen corn to thaw slightly before using it and for canned or frozen, cook only until corn is heated through well.

Cajun Corn and Bacon Maque Choux

To reiterate:  Maque choux  a traditional dish of southern Louisiana. (It is thought to be an amalgam of Creole and American Indian cultural influence; the name is more than likely to be derived from the French interpretation of the Native American name) It usually contains corn, green bell pepper, onion, and sometimes garlic, celery, and tomato. The ingredients are braised in a pot. Historically bacon grease was used for the braising stage, although various combinations of oil, butter, or cream may be substituted. (that is why Chef Paul's family favorite recipe I'd given before is a lighter variation) The vegetables are then left to simmer until they reach a tender consistency, with chicken stock or water added as necessary. The dish is generally finished with salt and a combination of red and black pepper. Some cooks include hot sauce and a bit of sugar for greater complexity. Here's another one not by Chef Paul.

    6 ears corn, husked and cleaned
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 large onion, thinly sliced
    1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
    1 large fresh tomato, chopped
    1/4 cup milk
    salt to taste
    cayenne pepper
    1/4 cup chopped green onions
    8 strips crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
    Add all ingredients to list
    Cut corn off the cobs by thinly slicing across the tops of the kernels; place in a medium bowl. Cut across the kernels again to release milk from the corn, add milk to bowl. Set aside.
    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper, cook until onion is transparent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Combine corn, tomatoes, and milk with the onion mixture. Reduce heat to medium low, and cook 20 minutes longer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Do not boil. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Lower heat, cover skillet, and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer. Stir in green onions and bacon. Remove from heat and serve.