I made this recently for an outdoor fried chicken party and the corn disappeared almost as quickly as the hot fried chicken. I’ve made it by request a few times since, once adding some frozen corn when I didn’t have enough fresh. And for a vegan friend, I replaced the cream with coconut milk and added some fresh basil. Grilling or charring the corn and poblano adds some smoky notes. Feel free to adjust the flavors but I must stress the importance of puréeing about one-third to one-half of the corn mixture for a beautiful creamy texture; a food processor works great here or even a hand-held immersion blender. The hit of queso and fresh lime juice at the end brings it all together. You might want to consider doubling the recipe because this dish vanishes quickly and keeps well in fridge for a few days.
Fresh creamed corn with queso and poblano
Makes 8 servings as a side dish
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large green onions, thinly sliced
10 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (or 6 cups/24 ounces frozen corn)
1 poblano or 2 jalapeños, grilled/roasted/charred* or raw, stems discarded, chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
6 ounces queso fresco (or mild feta or ricotta salata)
1 cup cilantro, chopped
Hot sauce, optional, for serving
Note: Grilling the corn and poblano* imparts even more flavor. You can also char peppers over a gas burner/flame for a few seconds until charred all over; peel and chop.
If using fresh corn, cut kernels from cobs. For easy cutting, place a smaller bowl upside down inside a large bowl, and stand corn up — cut side on down — on smaller bowl and slice kernels directly into larger bowl.
Heat butter in a large, deep skillet (12-inch) over medium-high heat. Add green onion slices, corn, chopped poblano, and garlic, stir to combine. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some freshly-ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add cream and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove half of corn mixture to a food processor and add 1/3 cup water and pulse until mostly puréed/well blended. Alternatively, use a hand-held immersion blender and blend until about half the mixture is creamy and puréed, adding up to 1/3 cup water. Add puréed corn back to skillet and stir. Add smoked paprika and cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Taste and add more salt or pepper, as needed. Top with queso and serve with lime wedges and hot sauce, if desired.