October 5, 2002
'50s FOOD:Creamed Corn? Really? (MARK BITTMAN, October 2, 2002, The New York Times)
It's not fancy, but it is a good home-cooked dish, quick, easy and convenient. In a way, this is 1950's food, akin to tuna-noodle casserole made with mushroom soup, but since it is 50's food of another culture it seems fresh and new. (Indeed, despite the canned corn, it is fresh and new.) Nor is it the only dish I've learned about in the last couple of years to employ canned corn: my sometime co-author Jean-Georges Vongerichten prepares a moist, sweet corncake that he insists loses its character when made with fresh corn.
Modesty aside, I think I've improved on the version I was served at Ocean Star. First, I use chicken instead of fish; not only is it slightly more traditional (beef and pork are most commonly used in Chinese-American homes), but it's easier.
I also combine the creamed corn with whole corn kernels, which can be canned as well, to intensify the corn flavor and give a little more crunch.
Finally, I steeply increase the spices. A tablespoon each of garlic and ginger is about right, and if you like hot food you will want to use two or more chilies. Because I add the spices after the chicken is cooked, not before, they stay fresh and vibrant. This is important, because the creamed corn - essentially a mixture of corn, cornstarch, water and sugar - doesn't exactly smack of the garden.
Whats wrong with creamed corn? Posted by Orrin Judd at October 5, 2002 7:34 AM