No, not butter for corn, butter made from corn. Well, not really butter, either, but a butter-like spread made from fresh corn. So why make it? Well, to add a nice corn flavor anyplace that you might use butter. We were thinking of popcorn, so we could have extra-corny popcorn. Plus, we’re attempting a version of polenta packed with corn flavor, and it seems that a bit of this should be stirred in at the end. If the polenta works, we’ll let you know, but, until then, let’s scratch out some corn butter.
We saw this in Genius Recipes, by Kristen Miglore, but it wasn’t one of the genius recipes — it was what we’d term a lemma recipe, a recipe used in another recipe. However, we were more intrigued with this little item than anything else in the book. Hmm, does that mean we already know the genius way to cook? Not likely. Instead, we liked the fact that this recipe had just one ingredient: fresh corn, and who doesn’t like fresh corn?
What can we say? Buy corn while it’s fresh.
Procedure in detail:
Cut kernels. Sure, you’ll find some tips out there on the Internet that purport to make cutting the kernels off of the cob easier. Or, you might find people recommending special cutters just for this task. You’re welcome to try them, but we just go at it with a chef’s knife. It works, it’s easy to clean up, and, if you keep the ears of corn close to the cutting board, only a few kernels will go astray. While you could discard the corn cobs, why would you? Just chop them and put them in a pan with water and a bay leaf. Simmer 45 minutes, and strain. Fresh corn stock for soups, or what have you.
Blend. This is the fun part. Place the kernels in a blender, put the top on, and blend until the cows come home. They’ll probably be attracted by the smell of the corn (although corn is not a natural part of a cow’s diet, causing all sorts of problems and not just for the cow).
Strain. This is the hard part. No matter how long the blending process, corn has a lot of cellulose or pulp that you have to strain out. We placed a clean piece of butter muslin in a funnel and used that to strain out the liquid. We did have to press and squeeze out more of the corn juice, and it did take a while, and it was messy. If you wish, you can discard the pulp, but we didn’t; it went into the corncob stock we were making, to add even more flavor.
Cook. You should end up with about a cup of corn liquid. Place it in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Once thickened, give it another 30 minutes of cooking just to make sure all the starch has finished thickening.
Pack. Pour your corn butter into a covered container and refrigerate. Use for flavoring, or spreading, just as you’d use butter.
Well, we tried this as a bread spread and on biscuits; while it has a very corny taste, the smooth texture is a bit odd. It’s kind of like eating a bit of corn-flavored pudding; we’re not sure it’s worth making. It’s not difficult, but it is messy straining out the corn liquid and the texture is not what we think of for a spread. Until we try our version of super-corny polenta, we’re going to give this just three stars.