Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Nothing But Corn
I have really enjoyed my CSA this summer. Unlike last summer, where I was overrun with cauliflower, this summer's CSA has been a little more, shall we say, balanced. I've gotten my fair share of cucumbers and zucchini, but I've also gotten delicious peaches, blueberries, and kale. All in all, I've been pleased.
I guess this must have been a good summer for corn, because I literally have corn coming out of my (pardon the pun) ears. I've gotten so much corn that I've started cutting it off the cob and freezing it to use later. The problem is that later may have arrived, since I now have 3 large bags of frozen corn winking at me every time I open my freezer.
Well, Smitten Kitchen to the rescue with this absolutely delicious Corn and Cheddar Strata.
First of all, this is one easy to put together recipe. There aren't a ton of ingredients, and it can be assembled (in fact, it's best if it is) the night before you plan to serve it. Then all you have to do it take it out of the frig and pop it in the oven and you'll look like a gourmet hero. It slices beautifully and can be reheated for lunch if you are lucky enough to have leftovers.
But the best part is, this strata really showcases the delicious late summer corn. The corn gives it a sweetness that you just can't fake. Use bread that's a little past its prime (we all have some of that hanging around the bread box) and together with the sharp cheddar and the scallions, you'll be sorry that you don't have more late summer corn hanging around.
Recipe: Corn, Cheddar and Scallion Strata
Serves 6 to 8
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups fresh corn (cut from 3 small-to-average cobs)
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (both white and green parts from a 4-ounce bundle)
8 cups whole wheat, country or French bread in 1-inch cubes (weight will vary from 10 to 14 ounces, depending on bread type)
2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely grated sharp cheddar
1 cup (2 ounces) finely grated parmesan
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional, see Note up top)
2 3/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon table salt or 2 teaspoons of a coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Generously butter a 3-quart baking dish (a lasagna or 9×13-inch pan works well here too). Toss corn and scallions together in a medium bowl. Combine cheeses in another bowl. In a large bowl, gently beat eggs and mayo together, then whisk in milk, salt and lots (or, if measuring, 1/2 teaspoon) of freshly ground black pepper. Spread one-third of bread cubes in prepared baking dish — it will not fully cover bottom of dish; this is fine. Add one-third of corn, then cheese mixture. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, corn and cheese. Pour egg mixture evenly over strata. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.
When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake strata, uncovered, until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.