Whenever I see cobs of corn on the market at this time of year, I get a bit of a cheap thrill. This is nothing to do with Autumn’s harvest or the beauty of a season passing (we’ve done that in a previous post and frankly, I’m starting to find this drizzling rain and 360 degree wind rather tiresome) but rather a literal, cheap thrill. The tight-fisted pleasure of my supper being just a few pennies away rises up in my chest like an unquenchable hunger and before I know it, I’ve bought into the market’s bargain offer of 4 cobs for a pound. Unbelievable, I know, and none of that shearing of the ears in two and wrapping them in plastic. I’ve watched some shoppers unravel their sheaths to check for bugs and rot, but for me there’s something quite exciting about taking my pick from the box and scurrying home to wrench away their crepe paper skins to see what’s under there. My lack of scrutiny has never failed me – I think you’d know if you were picking up a rotten stick of corn – and I’m still excited to know there are several things to try out with this lovely, lovely vegetable, including fritters (recently served at Stevie Parle’s relaunch of the Dock Kitchen) and chowder. My favourite, along with most people’s, is to boil, spread with butter, salt and pepper and just to stick your face right in. A cleaner alternative is to replace the butter with lime juice and the seasoning with chilli flakes. I’ve found myself recently just scoffing at it raw before plunging into water – when it’s this fresh and sweet it seems a shame to cook away the goodness in it, and you can eat it like fruit when you cut the kernels off the cob into lego-like building blocks. Amazing. I also like plucking out and wearing the frondy hair at the tip of the cob as a moustache, so I might be alone in that.
This recipe for creamed corn goes well with all things Autumnal, and as I’ve already made a slow-cooked stew this week, thought I’d try this as a brunch and smeared on toast.
Finely chop half a small white onion and sweat on a low heat in a little butter. Stand your corn on the cob vertically in a large bowl and use a long and sharp knife to cut away the kernels from one end to the other in downward strokes. Repeat with a second cob and try to include the base of the kernels, where lots of the juice is held. Add to the onions, stir and add 3/4 cup of water. Add a knob of butter and bring to a simmer under a lid for 10 minutes. When the kernels are tender, add a glug of fresh cream and grate in a fresh nut of nutmeg to your liking. Season modestly and blitz with a hand blender until smooth. Serve on hot brown toast with fresh coffee, or reserve for a roasted chicken or a beef stew.