Friday, June 27, 2008
Yep, Southerners have figured out a way to fry each and every vegetable that might grow in this region. One of my all-time favorites is Fried Corn--this is not the deep-fried ear of corn that some have done; this is a different ear all together (ha ha ha).
This scrumptious comfort food has all the earmarks (ha ha ha) of great Southern cooking: 1) Needs a cast iron skillet; 2) takes some effort/work/time; 3) requires both bacon grease and butter--and some even add cream!; 4) worth every bit of the extra effort and calories--so good!!! It's one of those recipes that takes people back to their grandmother's cooking.
Here's the way we do it (like most handed-down recipes, this is an intuitive thing):
4-6 ears of field corn (Silver Queen, Incredible, Peaches and Cream, etc.) (this is the stuff you find at roadside stands and farmer's markets usually)
1 T. or so bacon grease
1 T. or so of sugar
3/4 t. or so of salt
pepper to taste (lots is good)
1/4 c. butter
1. Cut the corn off the cob: the method here is partly what lends good fried corn, so pay attention, all you non-Southerners. Cut the top half of the kernels off. Then, using the flat/back edge of the knife, scrape the milky insides of what's left. Your cob will look like some little animal got to it and managed to suck out the insides of all the kernels--that's normal. You'll have a small pile of mushy, milky corn "stuff" on your cutting board along with the top halves of the kernels. Scrape it all into a bowl.
2. Add remaining ingredients (except bacon grease) to corn in bowl.
3. Heat enough bacon grease in cast iron skillet to generously cover bottom of skillet. This recipe cooks down pretty significantly, so you don't need a massive skillet--but it should be a good 8-inches or so (or bigger).
4. When grease is HOT (we are "frying" here, remember?), add corn mixture in bowl. Stir it around (a wooden spoon works well) and fry it for a while on medium high heat (maybe 3-4 minutes). After a few minutes on the high heat, turn it down to low and add 1/4 cup of water or so. It will begin to thicken; if you need to, you can add a little more water. What you're looking for as far as finished product goes is a slightly dry-looking, thick, porridge-y mixture that resembles creamed corn. You must taste it and make sure your "seasonin's" are correct. Like I said, this is an intuitive thing. You should be tasting elements of salt, sweet, corn, and goodness. This step takes a good 20 minutes or so; longer if the corn is more mature.
5. Enjoy!!! You won't get a heaping serving, but it's worth every minute of effort.
Serves 4-6; recipe doubles easily if you have the patience to cut off that many kernels