A year or two ago I read a book called Life Is Meals: A Food Lovers Book Of Days. It is a non-fiction book written by foodies, for foodies, but is wildly entertaining for just about anyone. Meant to be read in daily format (I just kept on going like a novel-I’m such a rebel!), it is full of fascinating stories, witty anecdotes, wonderful culinary history (did you know there was an Earl of Sandwich), and random recipes that the writers have come to rely on during numerous dinner parties over the last several decades. In the beginning, they explain about a sort of ‘food journal’ that they have kept so that they always remember what they served, to whom they served it, and when. Scribbled in the margins were phrases like ‘Make this again! Fantastic!’ and ‘Never invite Joe Johnson and Lisa Anderson to the same dinner party again!’ I distinctly remember thinking to myself at the time, “Self? This is a fantastic idea!” Did I do it? Nope. Which brings me to my recipe for today. There is a slim chance good chance very good chance strong probability that I have made this for you if you have ever come to visit me. Michel’s work BBQ? Check. Kids birthday parties? Mmm hmm. Unexpected guests in the middle of winter? Yup. I actually am pretty good at keeping all of the menus filed away in my head, but since I have kept no such journal as previously mentioned, I am just not sure. So when it comes to this dish, Fried Corn, I think I may have hit my limit. Your only chance of me making this for you is if you have never eaten at my house in the last 5 years. Or actually, at a few of my close friends’ houses either since most of them have this recipe already. And I suppose, now that I am posting it here, you all will have it and I can never serve it to guests again because you will have made it yourselves and I try really hard NOT to serve just the same ‘ol thing when we have people over, and who wants to take a vacation to central IL and when they get home have a friend say “How was your trip?” and you would have to say, “Great! We went to the train museum, shopped on the square, saw Lincoln’s Memorial-and I ate the exact same thing I made last week at home.” Not me. No siree. So here it is; the recipe that I will probably never make for you and you will just have to make yourself. And trust me. You will want to make this. Again and again. And the people you serve it to will want to make it too, after they ask, “What is this?!” It is sweet and creamy and downright fantastic with anything grilled. But because it is warm, I make it all winter, especially with ham.
Yes! Back to the recipe! It goes with everything. Absolutely everything. I really like to feed it to picky eaters. It has sugar in it. What child would turn down veggies with sugar mixed in?! Heck, what adult for that matter? Don’t think. Don’t hesitate. Just make this. I won’t even mind if you make it for me when I come visit you…
This recipe is adapted from somewhere, but I have been making it so long, I have no idea where it came from originally. I have no idea what it was even called, but Fried Corn is my name for it. My favorite part about this recipe is that it takes no prep and the ingredients are always in my kitchen. You don’t even need to defrost the corn. ‘Nuff said.
1 bag (1lb) frozen corn
2 T butter
2 T sugar
1 T cornmeal
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh chives, optional
In a medium pan, stir together the first four ingredients over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the butter melts and the corn starts to thaw. Keep stirring every minute or so, careful not to let the mixture stick to the bottom and scorch. After a few minutes, the moisture from the veggies and the butter and the sugar will soften and cook the cornmeal, going first from something sorta grainy, to something creamy and almost thickened. If you are unsure, taste a bite, and if the cornmeal is still hard and course, give it another minute or two. Taste for seasoning and sprinkle with fresh chives.
Honorable Mention: The original recipe had no chives, double this amount of butter, and another tablespoon of sugar. You be the judge. The chives are an amazing balance of flavor (as is a significant amount of black pepper), but if I am serving them to a group with kids, I generally leave them out. Very finely diced bell pepper is a tasty and gorgeous addition as well. I don’t like to take this into a creamed corn type of recipe, but if you really want to have something fantastic, add another tablespoon of cornmeal and at the end of the recipe, stir in about a 1/2 c of cream. Stir and cook till it all comes together. Outstanding.