Saturday, November 8, 2014

Corn Soufflé? Corn Soufflé!

Good evening everyone! Some combinations just sound great – burgers & fries, ice cream sandwich, chicken noodle soup. These are things that, paired together, generally bring positive thoughts to the mind and palette. 

Corn soufflé is…well…not one of those things. In fact, I’m not sure what first came to my mind when I read “corn soufflé” (I know what comes to mind NOW, but that’s clouded by the results of this recipe) all I remember is that the concept was intriguing and I wanted to give it a try. Corn and soufflé are things you very rarely read together, and yet the concept of tonight’s dish was interesting enough to make me wonder if that notion should change.

After you try this dish for yourself, I think you’ll agree with me.

The Recipe: Corn soufflé
Original Recipe Found In: Hy-Vee Seasons Magazine (October 2014 Issue)

What You’ll Need: 
6 Cups Frozen Corn (Thawed)*
2 Cups Half and Half
6 Large Eggs (Yolks and whites separated)
6 Tablespoons Butter (Softened, divided)
2 Tablespoons Honey
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper
2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
3 Green Onions (Diced)

* The preferred method would obviously be fresh corn kernels here, but it’s October and the best Iowa sweet corn has long been consumed. If you saved some (via freezing) from this summer, this would be a great place to use a bit of it – for the rest of us, frozen is the only option.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and coat the inside of a 3 quart baking or casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large food processor (and we do mean large…a lot is going to go into this baby) add 4 cups of the corn and the half and half. Pulse until the mixture is perfectly smooth and well blended. Next, add the egg yolks, honey, butter (divided into tablespoon sized chunks for easier processing) as well as the salt and pepper and pulse again until the mixture is smooth and all of the ingredients have worked in.

Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and stir in the remaining 2 cups of corn kernels as well as the green onions and parmesan cheese. Set this bowl aside.

Add the egg whites to a medium mixing bowl and beat them with an electric mixer until they become soft and slight peaks begin to form on the tips. You can use a standard handheld beater for this, but an electric mixer makes much faster (and easier) work. Once the egg whites are nice and foamy and have formed little peaks, carefully fold them into the bowl with the corn mixture. Once everything is combined, transfer this mixture into your baking dish and set it in the center of the oven for 45 minutes. 

Cook the soufflé until the top is golden brown and the dish is cooked through. You can check the doneness by inserting a knife into the center of the soufflé. If the blade comes out clean, you’re done – if there’s a bit of liquid on the knife, it needs more time. (For what it’s worth, we ended up cooking for an additional 30 minutes to reach the “done” point – and we have a fairly reliable oven.)

All that’s left is to serve and enjoy. You’re free to top with additional salt, pepper or butter if you so choose.

The Results: 

The phrase “corn soufflé” should absolutely be in your culinary vocabulary. This dish was full of sweet corn flavor, balanced nicely from the browning in the oven (and the green onions). The highlight was the light and fluffy nature of the dish – it was almost like you were eating whipped corn…and odd concept, but when you try it, you’ll get it. In short, despite sharing two words that don’t typically associate – this recipe is one side dish you’ll definitely want to become familiar with.

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