Corn pudding like a ray of sunshine
Usually ideas for this column pop up easy as a country song. This week, I drew a blank. I stared out the kitchen window at two hardy trees that still held tightly to most of their leaves in spite of last week’s storms. Slowly, the sun slanted highlighting their glorious gold tops like warm maple syrup poured over pancakes. And then an idea: yellow.
I remember noticing yellow for the first time as a very young child when my grandmother had new living-room furniture delivered. A wing chair caught my eye, the color unlike anything I’d seen in my three long years on earth. So I asked the deliveryman what it was called. He said he thought it might be called “something like lemon.” That chair stayed in my grandmother’s living room as long as I can remember. She pulled it right up to her old-fashioned color console TV to watch Julia Child, hoping to catch her in a mistake.
When I got to school and got my first official box of fat waxy crayons, I used the yellow one so often scrubbing it down to a stub before all the others. I always noticed the first crocus and daffodils in springtime. I chose yellow dresses. And a yellow raincoat with matching rain boots.
Much later, when I fell in love with words, I compiled lists of favorites, one a medley of yellows starting from the palest tones to some skirting orange and brown. Buttercream, buttercup, cornsilk, pineapple, marigold, saffron, goldenrod, topaz and amber. I found it in nature and jewelry. In food and fabric. And in the paintings of Botticelli and Michelangelo, the self-descriptive word, giallo.
Still staring out the window at those trees, a thought came to mind as lyrical as an Italian love song: This week would have been my grandmother’s birthday. Maybe she was whispering to me.
Below, my yellow side dish. Bake this in a beautiful baking dish so that it goes directly to the table for serving.
Linda Bassett is the author of “From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.” Reach her by email at KitchenCall@aol.com. Read Linda’s blog at lindabcooks.wordpress.com. Follow Linda for quick recipes on Twitter at @Kitchencall. More Content Now
Golden Corn Pudding Makes 6 servings • 3 T butter • 1 medium onion, chopped • 3 T all-purpose flour • 2 cups milk • 2 t sugar • 1/2 t salt • 1/4 t cayenne pepper • 2 eggs • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh, leftover, cooked or frozen) • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese • 2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions. Gradually whisk in the milk, cooking and stirring until sauce comes to a boil. Whisk in the sugar, salt and cayenne.
Lightly beat the eggs. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the hot milk mixture into the eggs so that you can add the remainder of the mixture without scrambling. Then, gradually whisk the remaining milk mixture into the eggs.
Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Butter a 1 1/2- to 2-quart shallow baking dish.
Combine the corn and cheese in the baking dish, tossing to mix. Pour sauce over the corn mixture. Stir gently so that they combine without breaking the corn kernels.
Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet. Add the breadcrumbs and cook over medium heat, stirring, until crumbs begin to color a pale gold. Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the casserole. Bake, uncovered, until custard sets and the top is golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.