On a warm summer day, there is nothing like biting into a juicy, buttery piece of corn on the cob and that is usually my favorite way to eat corn. However, sometimes we like to take it to another level…one that is creamy, buttery, and oh, yes…BACONY! (That word is acceptable in Southern Kitchens!). The dish I am referring to is Southern Fried Corn!
Now, I am not the only chef in the family…my husband often wants the kitchen all to himself and most of the time ends up using his favorite piece of cookware…the Cast Iron Skillet…AND usually with his favorite cookbook, The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook from which he has prepared many delicious entrees and side dishes including his take on their recipe for fried corn.
As usual, in the Pitt family, we put our own spin on different recipes as is the case with an already very good recipe from this fantastic cookbook. The recipe that we are featuring today is our version but the original can be found in The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook (2012-2nd Edition). Our version uses onions for some extra flavor and jalapenos for a little color and heat but if you are “heat-challenged”, sweet green peppers can be substituted and you will still be left with the same color profile.
The hardest part about this dish is cutting the corn off the cob and “milking” it but it is actually one of my favorite things about the recipe because it brings back memories of Jeff’s sweet grandmother, Jewell Shelton.
She was actually the one who taught me this technique after I first married Jeff. Grandmother was quite the chef herself and passed down many recipes to her three daughters, Janice (my sweet mother-in-law), Joyce, and Betty Joan. In fact, a couple of Christmases ago, the sisters all got together and put all her recipes, handwritten, in a cookbook for all of us to have one in our kitchen. It is one of my greatest treasures and I know she smiles every time she sees Jeff (she called him a “little stinker”) and I spending time together in the kitchen!
Oddly enough, her recipe for Fried Corn isn’t included in the cookbook but that is probably because it was something she didn’t need to write down. It was old habit and she kept this one in her head. I think we all have a few of those kinds of recipes. So, in our quest to recreate her recipe, we came upon the one in the Lodge Cookbook and adapted it from there. I know you will enjoy it as much as we do!
Chef Jeff’s Fried Corn
- 6 large ears fresh corn (yellow or white), husked removed
- 3 strips of bacon, chopped (you may need to make more if you have bacon snatchers in your kitchen)
- 3 tablespoons of reserved bacon drippings
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
Cut the kernels off the cobs. Milk them by running the knife over the cob after the kernels have been removed to get as much as “milk juice” as possible.
Fry the bacon, and remove from pan. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings. (Note: We have bacon snatchers in our house so Jeff always makes more bacon than he needs!)
Add the onion and peppers to the bacon drippings and saute on low heat until softened (about 3-4 minutes).
In a medium bowl, combine the corn, sugar, and water. Now this next step is a little trick we learned for keeping your flour smooth when adding it into other ingredients. Simply combine the milk and flour in a small tupperware bowl. Put the lid on the bowl and shake until completely mixed! You will have no clumps! Add the corn mixture and flour/milk mixture into the hot onion/pepper mixture in the skillet.
When the mixture is hot, add the butter, bacon and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir until the butter is melted and mixed in. Make sure to keep stirring…especially at the end! Cook on low heat until the corn is tender (30-40 minutes).
Bottom Line: This is a great dish to serve with almost anything! Earlier this summer, we served it to Memom (our nickname for Jeff’s mom) along with crab cakes and she loved it! She immediately wanted the recipe and called Jeff to tell us that she has already made it several times and it is a hit in her house, too! On Friday night we just served it with burgers and again, it was the perfect side dish.
I can’t wait for you to try this recipe with your family and hopefully create some great memories just as we have! “Keep on Cooking”!