For this week’s installment of One Local Summer, I decided to go vegetarian, as this dish in and of itself makes a very substantial lunch. I was first introduced to Maque Choux at Pig Iron BBQ, a local barbecue joint who has long since stopped making it. But I was hooked the very first time I tried it – so many different flavors and textures – the sweetness and crisp of the corn, the little bit of heat from the spices and chiles, the creaminess that brought everything together had me begging for more. So when I saw sweet corn at the farmer’s market this past weekend, I bought it with exactly this dish in mind.
Now, the most pressing issue was which method to use to get the corn kernels off the cob. I tried three different methods – the corn stripper method, the corn zipper method, and the knife method. The corn stripper is basically useless, unless you have a way to keep the corn steady when using it, like a nail in your cutting board or something. The corn zipper is awkward and time-consuming – you have to have it lined up with the rows just so, use just the right amoung of pressure. In the time it took me to learn to use it I managed to zip off some of my finger. Ouch. The sharp knife method works well, with the caveat that the corn goes flying everywhere. As long as you have something there to catch the flying corn (and not let the corn milk, or liquid escape), it’s the best way to go (and it means you don’t need to buy a useless unitasker). I pretty much followed the recipe as written without any modifications.
As for the ingredients, the jalapeno, green bell peppers, and onions were procured at the Worthington Farmer’s Market. I got the sweet corn from the Clintonville Farmer’s Market. The butter is Ohio Amish roll butter, and the cream is also Ohio-based. The spices, of course, are all non-local.
Kicked Up Corn Maque Choux
courtesy Emeril Lagasse
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups corn (about 6 ears)
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped red or green bell peppers
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
2 teaspoons Emeril’s Original Essence, recipe follows
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Melt the butter in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn, onions, bell peppers, jalapeno, Essence, and salt, and cook, stirring, until soft, for 10 minutes. Add the cream and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and serve hot.
Emeril’s Creole Seasoning (Essence):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup