Irresistable Creole-style creamed corn
Maque Choux is a sort of Cajun creamed corn that's thought to be heavily influenced by Native American cuisine. Some versions contain bacon or tasso ham; for a heartier side dish, feel free to add them, or substitute bacon fat for the vegetable oil. The dish is a nice accompaniment to fried chicken, Cornish hens with gumbo rice, or shrimp and grits.
Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)
Corn and Avocado Salsa
Pasta with Corn and Smoked Trout
- Vegetable or olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced onion (about 1/2 very small onion)
- 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1/4 small pepper)
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons diced jalapeno (about 1/2 medium chile)
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay, Creole or Cajun spice mixture (see note)
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 very small tomato
- 2-3 tablespoons cream
- 2 tablespoons diced scallion (1 small scallion)
- Yield: 2 generous servings
1. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of it. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, until the onion pieces separate and begin to soften.
2. Add the red pepper, garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute or so, or until the garlic is fragrant and the vegetables begin to soften. Add the spice mixture and stir until the vegetables are evenly coated with the mixture.
3. Add the corn and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes, uncovered.
4. While the corn is cooking, seed the tomato over a bowl fitted with a small strainer. Throw the seeds away but save the tomato liquid. Dice the tomato (you should have 3-4 tablespoons diced).
5. Add the diced tomato and two tablespoons of cream and bring the mixture back to a simmer. There should be just enough liquid to coat all the vegetables generously; if you can see a lot of liquid in the bottom of the pan, let it continue to simmer until most of it has evaporated. If there's no liquid, add another tablespoon of cream.
6. Taste and add more spice mixture or salt if necessary (I usually add a generous pinch of salt and a little more seasoning mix). If the dish seems flat, add the tomato liquid (see note). Stir in the scallions and remove from the heat.
- I make a seasoning mixture based on one from the book My New Orleans by chef John Besh. It's roughly equal parts celery salt, paprika, black pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion and cayenne, with a pinch of allspice. If you don't want to make your own, Old Bay seasoning is a similar blend, although not quite as spicy. Most Creole or Cajun style spice mixtures will work as well. They may be more or less spicy, so adjust accordingly.
- Much of a tomato's acidity is in the juice, so if the finished dish seems flat (that is, lacking in acid) add the liquid to balance the flavors.