One of the stores just had the first Arizona- grown corn of the season available as a loss leader — eight ears for a dollar — so, naturally, we picked some up, figuring that, in the worst case, we’d be having corn on the cob for the next couple of days, but also with a mind for finding a new dish for fresh corn.
And, looking through our vast archive of recipes here at Scratchin’ It Central, we found a one for scalloped corn that seemed perfect. Easy, yet somewhat like creamed corn that you bake. Now, we didn’t have the optional 1/4 cup diced green pepper that The Joy of Cooking called for, so we just left that out and added cheese and a bit of herbs instead — everything’s better with cheese, but, otherwise, it’s what Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker wrote originally. Well, maybe not, but the main idea is theirs.
As an aside, we’ve noticed that even when corn is on sale at ridiculous prices, some people will spend an inordinate amount of time picking through the ears. Why, we wonder? Maybe they do avoid an ear that’s substandard, saving a single bit, but, let’s face it, their time is worth more than 12.5 cents. We just grab the ears and move on.
Fresh corn tastes better than frozen corn, which tastes better than canned corn, so you know what to use if you want the best-tasting scalloped corn. For the eggs, we always use eggs from truly free-range hens — most of the adjectives on egg cartons have no official meaning, so your best bet is to find someone local who has hens and buy from them. You’ll support your neighbor and good poultry management. Finally, you’ll note that we didn’t specify the kind of grated cheese. That’s so you can go wild and choose your favorite!
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Yes, it seemed somewhat low to us, too. But, we’ve rarely had The J of C fail us, so we went with it, and it works.
Oil baking dish. Pour some olive oil into an 8-inch baking dish — round or square, it doesn’t matter; even a 9-inch would work — then spread the oil around to coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
Mix. Here’s the best part. Get out a medium-sized bowl and pour in the corn, followed by the eggs, cheese, salt, thyme, and cream, and give it all a good stirring. That’s it! your scalloped corn is pretty much done, except for the baking. Don’t you love it!
Fill and top. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and sprinkle bread crumbs on top.
Bake. Slide the scalloped corn into the oven and bake until the top is golden brown and the eggs set, about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the pan and the thickness of the mixture.
This was delicious and about as easy as you can get (other than cutting the kernels of corn off the ears, but we didn’t show that above, making it seem even easier). It tastes like a cross between creamed corn and a corn pudding, and, after a simple mixing, it just bakes away in the oven, making it perfect for a side when you need to finesse a more complicated main at the last minute. We used this as a main, and that works, too. The cheese adds enough body and flavor so it’s substantial and hearty. Fives.