The summer abounds with inspirational flavours in every field and planter. Corn is especially prevalent and it always looks too good to just buy one or two cobs. My eyes are often bigger than my stomach and it's very easy to overload on ears at the farmgate. The trouble with having too much fresh corn - the longer it's been off the stalk the starchier it will taste.
Just like a few other sweet vegetables (especially asparagus and peas), the sugars in the vegetables immediately begin to convert to starches as soon as they are harvested. If you aren't going to consume the corn within a day or two, the taste difference is quite noticeable in the remaining cobs. The way I get around this sugars-to-staches conversion is to cook all my corn at once. Any leftover cobs I don't eat I use a serrated knife to remove the kernals from the cob (in a bowl) then store in the fridge to use over the next several days or store in plastic bags the freezer. I'll be thankful for the freezer-corn when the annual Great January Food Depression starts to rear its ugly head and the markets are shut down.
Plenty of foods can pair with corn and there are just as many dishes to use it in. We're lucky enough to have a local supplier of shiitake mushrooms south of town and they are a perfect match for yellow corn. Serve corn on salads, make a quick relish to use on sandwiches, or add it to a pot of grilled tomato soup. Herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage also are great seasonings along with good ol' fashioned salt & pepper. Smoke from the bbq, bacon or sausage is a personal favourite combo with corn. Cream, butter, olive oil, bacon fat help carry corns flavour across all your taste buds and blue cheese - let's just say it's an earthy, creamy, sharp reminder that fermentation & cheesemaking are lost arts worthy of revival and should be celebrated. Possibly at every meal.
With my current schedule, I seem to find myself with this day of the week 'off' called Saturday. Being in the restaurant industry as well as being a vendor at farmers' markets for so long meant Saturdays were always work days. No, I couldn't call in sick. No, I didn't 'get' holidays. Saturdays are precious, I know, so this past August I took my time one of those summer mornings to visit The Covent Garden Market in London on my way to work.
I recognized several of the vendors at Covent Garden from the St. Thomas area and some vendors because I used to live down the street from the market and would convene & shop there several times a day. A few other vendors I recognized from my days in Stratford. One vendor in particular I was really happy to see was Monforte Dairy. There aren't very many artisan cheesemongers located in our area (can I anyone tell me why???) so seeing their sign was like baking the perfect souffle: aww-inducing.
After a little sampling, I left the market with a whole lotta Water Buffalo Blue Cheese. I was intrigued by this cheese because I wondered if the milk had come from the same water buffalo that roam the Amish Mennonite Countryside Northeast of Aylmer (it doesn't). The cheese is so silky smooth and rich with only a slight sharpness unlike some of the grocery store "Danish" blue cheeses which can be overwhelmingly strong, metallic and acidic.
So...blue cheese, mushrooms, and corn. Add some eggs, greens, and bacon and you've got lunch prepared for the next week by preparing a vegetable-loaded quiche. Don't have pastry? Follow the same method without the crust and call it frittata.
Corn, Shiitake & Blue Cheese Quiche - Recipe
The standard ratio of eggs : cream to make rich & creamy baked custard for quiche is 1 egg : 1/4 cup cream. If you're not crazy about using so much cream, substitute milk for some for it. However, using milk will affect the texture and flavour. 5 eggs : 1 1/4 cups cream is enough filling for one 8-inch quiche.
One 8 or 9-inch unbaked pie shell, frozen
1 1/4 cups 10% cream
pinch of salt and cracked black pepper
4 slices bacon, sliced into lardons (1/4-inch strips)
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup corn kernals, cooked and cut off the cob
1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
2-3 oz mild blue cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a saute pan with the heat on medium-low, render bacon to release fat and cook meat. Don't worry about crisping the bacon - ensuring it is cooked is the goal at this point. Remove from pan and drain bacon on paper towels.
Using a whisk, blender, or immersion blender, mix eggs, cream, and salt & pepper together well. Set aside.
Turn heat to medium and saute mushrooms and onions until browned and excess moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper while cooking. Add corn and saute for one minute. Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly. Add chopped oregano and check seasoning.
In an unbaked pie shell set on a baking sheet, place spinach leaves on bottom. Spoon in mushroom mixture. Pour in egg mix and top with blue cheese and bacon if using.
Bake in oven 45-60 minutes or until middle of the quiche is just barely set and a knife inserted into the center comes out free of runny egg. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
The After: Corn, Shiitake & Blue Cheese Quiche
Lucy Juicy Blue Cheese & Shiitake Sliders
Small burgers with blue cheese stuffed inside. Topped with sauteed shiitakes & onions, mustard, tomatoes, and leaf lettuce.
I once went on a weekend roadtrip I now call "The Lap of The Lake". Headed to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, met some fun folks, had this burger, and ended up at a Buffalo Bills game on the other end of Lake Erie. I may not remember everything about my night in Cleveland (the restaurant had 300 different beers stocked in-house) but I remember the blue cheese & mushroom combination on my burger!
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.