Aaah! Corn season has arrived! When I was a kid in Mississippi, a typical summer meal consisted of crispy fried chicken; purple hull peas and green beans cooked with pork; creamed corn with lots of butter; hot fried okra; and fresh cucumbers and onions in vinegar. In my humble opinion, the creamed corn was always the star of the show.
We had ready access to all kinds of fresh vegetables, including corn, during the summer months and every year we would spend hours and hours shucking, silking, and cutting bushels of corn to freeze for the winter. I wish I had a dollar for every ear of corn that I’ve shucked in my life. I’d be a rich man! The payoff of having corn all year round was so worth the effort.
There are a number of ways to cut corn off the cob. The goal is to create a combination of kernel tips and the creamy contents of each kernel. For many years, I used a sharp knife to accomplish the task. I cut halfway through the kernels and then I used the back of the knife blade to scrape along the cob to release the remainder of the kernels. I’ve since wised up and started using a mandolin to cut the tips of the kernels and a knife to complete the process. This method goes much more quickly. Please use great caution if you use a mandolin. It only takes one sliced finger to learn a hard lesson.
My mother never actually used cream in creamed corn She only added water, butter, salt, and pepper. However with sweet corn, it really does scream for a bit of extra richness that the cream adds. And by all means, make this corn in a black iron skillet if you have one. It’s the southern way and it’s not quite the same cooked in any other vessel.
10 ears fresh corn, shucked and silked
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
minced chives (for garnish)
1. With a sharp knife or a mandolin, cut the tips of the kernels off of each cob. Using the back of the knife, scrape along the length of the cob to release contents of each kernel.
2. Transfer corn to a cast iron skillet. Add water, butter, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Add cream and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed. Garnish with chives and serve immediately.