Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's getting corny around here...

A rousing end to the week with a total of 8 new recipes for us. I'm pretty sure you could guess that those Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts were one of our top favorites this week, but that Egg, Ham and Spinach Pizza and Sausage and Feta Hand Pies were not far behind.

Guess what has finally hit the markets up here? Sweet-as-a-sugar-cube Minnesota grown ears of fresh corn! Maybe I'm crazy, but I get pretty excited when those husky wrapped cobs, studded with milky golden kernels, have grown enough to finally be ready to hop in my belly! You can be sure I've been plenty busy cleaning, stripping and freezing the kernels so we can enjoy that summery flavor in the dead of winter. You can blanch the ears of corn first if you were to do the same thing, but when it is as fresh as this, I usually don't bother. Before I packed the bags away, I snuck out a heaping cup so I could make this Fresh Corn and Basil Tart tonight.

While there is plenty of corn in the filling, we tied that flavor into the crust by using equal parts flour and cornmeal for the dry ingredients. Due to the cornmeal's firm texture, the mixture will be a little moist at first - to give it time to absorb some of the liquid and firm up, the assembled crust needs to rest in the refrigerator before using it.

Once the dough rested, we easily patted it into one of those nifty tart pans that have a removable bottom. The crust needs a head start to cook completely, but before we placed it in the oven, we lined the top with foil and weighed it down with dried beans to ensure the bottom didn't bubble up or crack during this process. As that was in the oven, we threw together the simple filling consisting of fresh corn kernels mixed with half-and-half, a couple eggs and a handful of torn fresh basil.

The filling was moist, but firm enough to get clean slices, while the crust was sturdy enough to pick up a slice without falling apart, yet our forks could easily glide through the tender bottom. The crust also had a pleasant crunch from the rough cornmeal. Juicy ripe tomatoes are also starting top pop up in the market along side the corn, so we finished off the slices with halved fresh cherry tomatoes and of course, a sprinkling of torn basil leaves. While I'm sure you could do some preparation a head of time, I highly suggest preparing this on a night where you know you will have plenty of time (this is why I chose a Sunday to make this!) as there are quite a few steps and resting times. However, Jeff and I both thought it was worth the time and effort!

And by the way, I've burned my arms too many times trying to push the removable bottom from the tart pan while wiggling that hot outer ring away from it, but this time I finally smartened up and just set it down on a ramekin. Took me long enough!


  1. Interesting combination - the corn and basil. I love them both, this tart looks wonderful.

  2. Quinn - They worked pretty well together, at least we thought so!

  3. I love tarts...such pretty things! Your combination sounds AND looks terrific!

  4. That looks delicious!

    I myself get super excited when corn season approaches - our corn season is just getting good now also!

    We're having BBQ'd steaks and corn on the cob for dinner tonight - my mouth is watering already.

    Do you ever preserve fresh corn? I did last year but didn't do nearly enough - I've got big big corny plans for this year. We're talking more Ziploc bags in my Mom's freezer than I will be able to count!! I can't help it - it's so much better than canned corn.

    And easy too - blanch in boiling water for a couple of minutes, and scrape off the kernels. Spread on a cookie sheet and toss in the freezer for a little bit, bag it up and you are good to go.

  5. Have you put fresh corn in the freezer before without blanching it, or is this a new experiment? Would be easier to not blanch it, but wonder how it would hold up in the freezer...

  6. Gigi - Thanks!

    Mama Bear - We do! We talked about it in this post :)

    Anon - When the corn is this good, we don't even bother to blanch it. However, you can always do it if you think you would prefer the texture!