Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Polenta with Fresh Corn

Feel free to use defrosted frozen corn in place of fresh if it is not in season. I prefer to use fresh corn that was frozen at the height of the season. To make your own freezer corn, remove the husks and rinse the cobs to remove any remaining silks. Stand each ear in a large shallow bowl and cut the kernels from the cobs. Blanch the kernels in boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes then remove the kernels to a ice water bath to cool down. When the corn is cooled, remove from the ice water and pat dry. Fill a zip-top freezer bag about half full, remove the excess air, and zip the bag closed. Flatten out the bag of corn and label the bag with the contents and date. Transfer the bags to the freezer and enjoy the flavor of fresh corn no matter what season it is.

Polenta with Fresh Corn
recipe adapted from Pink Parsley

1 cup medium-grind cornmeal or polenta
Kosher salt
1 ¼ cup water, divided
1 ¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock, divided
4 ears corn
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring 4 cups of water and 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan with ½ teaspoon kosher salt.  Mix the remaining ¼ cup of each together in a liquid measuring cup and set aside. 

In a slow stream, whisk the cornmeal into the boiling water, whisking constantly.  To prevent lumps, continue to whisk constantly as the mixture returns to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer.  Every 10 minutes or so, stir the polenta with a wooden spoon.  If it seems too thick and is getting hard to stir, add a little of the reserved water/stock mixture and stir to incorporate.

Meanwhile, remove the husks and silk from the corn.  Stand each ear in a large shallow bowl and cut the kernels from the cobs. 

When the polenta has been cooking for about 20 minutes, stir in the corn.  Continue to cook an additional 10 minutes or so, until the corn is tender and cooked through.  Alternatively, cook the corn using your preferred method and stir it in at the end of the cooking time.

Stir in the butter, and stir until melted.  Remove the pan from heat and stir in the cream, basil, and cheese.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. If the polenta is too thick, stir in more broth.  Serve immediately garnished with freshly ground black pepper.