On Friday night, I found myself with no plans and nothing to do, so I decided to treat myself to a very Bachelor’s Test Kitchen-style dinner. Kind of like the Ma Po Eggplant last week, it seems like I’ve had fancy steakhouses on the brain the lately, but I obviously wasn’t going to go to one alone. So, my plan was to make steak (using a recipe that I’ve posted before), a salad and some sort of traditional steakhouse side. I wanted one of those dishes that is basically just a cream and cheese calorie bomb, but still gets credit for being a vegetable. I landed on creamed corn because, hey, corn is seasonal, right? I’m lucky I put a little effort into the corn, because I royally screwed up the steak. It turned out fine – definitely edible – but I was betrayed by my new-ish toy, the induction hot plate I got a couple of months ago. I planned to sear the meat in a blisteringly hot cast iron pan, and the induction burner goes to way higher temperatures than my little electric range. I had the pan literally smoking hot on top of that thing, and the steak sizzled and instantly seized up as soon as I laid it in the skillet. But, after a minute or so, the power suddenly dropped to low. I frantically pushed all of the little esoteric buttons on the front of my burner to figure out what was wrong, but it just kept reverting to low power. I finally said something aloud to my roommate along the lines of, “Damn, dude, my thing is just not getting hot.” He walked over and noticed that the plug for the burner had fallen halfway out and plugged it back in, saying, “Is this the problem?” The heat instantly went back up, but by that time, the damage was done and my steak was already pretty much cooked to medium without getting that great of sear. It was fine, but not great – but at least I’m #blessed that Freddy was there to salvage the meal.
So, that brings us to the creamed corn, the side dish-turned-centerpiece of my meal. I got three fresh ears of corn, shucked them and cut off the raw kernels. Then, using a Mark Bittman recipe from “How to Cook Everything,” I sauteed the corn in butter with some diced red chiles. I added some cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper, and then half and half. The corn cooked and the cream thickened, but not a ton, so I added a little bit of corn starch. Finally, the coup de grace, I put the creamed corn in little individual bowls and melted cheese on top of them. I felt like a genius. Not a bad bachelor’s Friday night meal.
3 fresh ears of corn
3 red chile peppers
1 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter Salt and black pepper, to taste
4 ounces extra sharp white cheddar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Shuck the corn and strip the kernels from the cob into a bowl to reserve the juice. Prepare peppers by getting rid of the stems, seeds and ribs, then give them a fine dice. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter, then add the veggies. Saute for 2-5 minutes.
- Add cream, and bring to a simmer. Once the mixture is bubbling gently, add salt, pepper and cayenne. Turn heat to medium-low and stir occasionally until corn is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Mix corn starch with 1 tablespoon cold water. Turn the heat on the creamed corn to medium, and add cornstarch mixture, stirring quickly. The creamed corn will thicken quickly.
- Turn your oven’s broiler to high. Pour the creamed corn into oven-safe bowls or ramekins, then top with the grated cheddar cheese. Broil for 2-5 minutes until cheese is melty and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with more cayenne (or paprika or any other herb or spice that you’d like to use) and garnish with slices from the third red chile. Serve immediately.