Sweet Summer Corn
There are many factors like pollinators of wind and insects, the up and down conditions of weather, as well as what you might already suspect, soil conditions and the amount of moisture; all affecting the outcome of corn and how it will taste. Crazy as it sounds, there is more than all that.
Of the many genes, over a dozen, that can improve the sweetness of a corn kernel, three are thought of as the most important in deciding the content of sugar awarded to corn varieties.
There is the sugar gene (su), the sugar enhancer (se) and the supersweet (sh2). So what does this have to do with today's recipe? Nothing what so ever if you already know about how sugar converts to starch and the timing you have from harvest to the table in order to retain the sweetness of the types of corn. Briefly, the field corn, the old yellow sweet corn contains the sugar gene and turns to starch rapidly after harvest, especially if it is not cooled down. Corn with sugar enhancer genes (se), like the one I'm using today, will break down into starch just the same as 'su' corn, but because of the intense sugar, it will of course retain more sweetness to the taste. Supersweet corn, and here I suspect would be all-white varieties like 'Silver King' and 'Silver Queen', do not convert sugar to starch readily thus staying sweet for a longer period.
The sugar sweet corn (se) picture here, know as a bi-color corn, goes by many names and there are endless varieties. Of the research into this post, the most important thing I know to tell you are threefold:
1) Look for color of the kernels to determine sweetness and in determining storage time;
2) The thinner the kernel's skin (pericarp), the sweeter but more tender the corn; and
3) My grandmother was right, always pick early in the morning and cool it down before it turns to starch.
This recipe uses sweet summer corn that heralds from the panhandle of Florida, fresh from the days picking but make no mistake, the taste is a savory blend of home goodness with southern flavors of yesteryear ~ not a sweet pie at all. Enjoy!
Fresh Sweet-Corn Pie
about 8 servings
1 cup finely crushed butter crackers
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 1/2 cups fresh corn (about 3 ears)
1 teaspoon Lawry's seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced green onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, optional
1/2 cup white cornmeal mix
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
Combine crushed cracker, panko and melted butter in a small bowl and set aside about 1/2 cup of the mixture for the topping. Press remainder of mixture into a 10-inch deep pie plate.
In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup of the cream with the corn, Lawry's salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.
Blend the cornmeal into the remaining cream and stir this quickly into the hot mixture until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Gradually add beaten eggs and stir vigorously.
Fold in the cheese and pour mixture into the cracker pie crust; sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake at 375 degrees F. for about 30 minutes or until browned. Cut into wedges and serve hot.