8.02.2006

If You Can Stand the Heat

Note to self: Turning on the oven to roast corn in one’s apartment, since one does not have an actual grill or space outside to do it, is brilliant in that it smells lovely and makes one feel as though she is doing Some Very Important Cooking by being able to use ‘oven-roasted’ as a modifier. However, particularly in the middle of a Jersey heat wave, while you are roasting corn, the oven is roasting the entire apartment, and the oven will not particularly care that the air conditioner is working hard to combat the already-existing hot air, or that your whole family is coming over and you are trying to be impressive, or that your recipe requires it be in there for one of the longest half-hours of your life, and it will continue chugging merrily away, producing heat like an evil hell’s minion to the point where you will be cursing you and your brilliant ideas and food snobbery and why didn’t you just stick to frozen corn like it says, but no, not you.
Darn you, farm market, and your seductively fresh, irresistibly sweet corn – do you see the trouble you get me into? I blame you entirely.

Perversely, I bet this is awesome in winter months, when you want the oven started up with its satisfying little flare of the gas going on and the comfort of a simmered soup, but I doubt there will be fresh corn then. And admittedly, this is great stuff – I had this really really excellent recipe for corn chowder with poblanos from the NYTimes Magazine maybe ten, a dozen years ago, and somewhere along the line I lost it and have been lamenting it since, and this isn’t it but I might like it almost as much – but as to what possessed me to turn on both the oven and stove on a blistering Saturday, well, I’ve got nothing. It also leaves the satisfaction of the hot pot theory, in that if you are eating spicy warm or hot foods in really hot weather, this will leave you with at least an illusion of coolness.

Incidentally - if you’ve got a good way to roast corn in the absence of a grill, or at least some alternative to regular boiling – for instance, anyone try indoor grills? Cast-iron skillets? Long, slow, low oven roasting like for tomatoes? – I am seeking your comments.

CORN CHOWDER
adapted from Bon Appetit via Epicurious

for the roasted corn
7 ears sweet white corn on the cob
olive oil, salt and pepper
for the chowder
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2-3 Tbsp finely chopped drained jarred jalape
ño slices
2 15-oz cans cream style corn
the roasted corn and cobs from above
2 1/2 c chicken broth
1 to 1 1/2 c half-and-half
2 tsp sugar
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Take the ears of corn and remove the husks and silks (I've heard it helps if you use a wet paper towel, but I have my doubts). Place in a baking pan and drizzle over some olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, turning the corn after 15. Remove and let sit until cool enough to handle. When the corn has cooled, remove the kernels from the cobs and reserve both.
Melt 2 Tbsp butter and mix with the flour in a small bowl; set aside. Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, and
jalapeño mixture and sauté until soft, 5-6 minutes. Add the creamed corn, the corn kernels, the chicken broth, half-and-half and sugar. Mix together well. If you have room in the pot for the corn cobs, add them as well, and bring the mixture to a boil. Whisk in the butter-flour mixture and let simmer 15 minutes. Add the cilantro and mix in well, simmer an additional five minutes.
The soup can be cooled to warm, somewhat above room-temperature, rather than hot to be served if you prefer.

1 Comments:

Blogger lucette said...

I don't have a way to roast corn ovenlessly, but I do have a good way to cook it w/o boiling quarts of water. You can microwave corn, either in the husk, or husked and wrapped lightly in a paper towel. It takes about 3 minutes to do 2 ears, comes out great.

10:45 PM  

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