Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer On A Plate

I love to cook. I cook a lot. I like to think I am a good cook. Every cook has their bad days, every cook makes an error in judgment. And occasionally every good cook make something that makes them feel like a rock star. With some simple ingredients, I felt like a rock star. Okay, rock star is a bit overstated, but I was really proud. Trying to decide what to cook for dinner a few days ago, I came across a recipe I that I've held onto for awhile. With a few minor adjustments, I had everything I needed to make a great corn tart to go along with some simple balsamic grilled chicken.
A press-in crust of butter, cornmeal and egg whipped up quickly. I finally just bought a hand mixer. My mom always had one but since I had a stand mixer, I never thought I needed one. A really, really, really good deal at Williams-Sonoma PLUS a mail-in-rebate, changed my mind. Now I don't know how I lived without it all these years.

Fresh corn and eggs, basil from the garden, cracked black pepper blended with half and half (that I keep stockpiling for ice cream I never seem to get to ) make an easy custard.

The entire family loved it and ate every inch of a 9" tart. Looking at this picture makes my mouth water at the memory of how wonderful it tasted. If you ever make a recipe I post - make this one. I promise it won't disappoint. Summer on a plate!

Corn and Basil Tart

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 t. salt
3 eggs
2/3 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernals
1/2 cup chiffonade of fresh basil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

For the crust: Beat the butter about 30 seconds on medium-high speed til light and fluffy. Add sugar and salt, beating til combined, then add 1 egg, beat to combine. Add the cornmeal, then as much of the flour as you can with the hand mixer. Any remaining flour can easily be blended in with a wooden spoon. Form the dough into a disc and refrigerate about 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pat the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9" removable bottom tart pan. Prick the bottom of the tart shell several times with a fork and bake about 10 minutes. Check for any bubbles in the crust, flatten if necessary and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

While the crust is baking, whisk remaining eggs and 1/2 & 1/2 together. Stir in corn kernels, basil, 1/2 t. salt and black pepper. Pour into the hot pastry shell and return to the oven for 35-40 minutes or until just set (mine was perfect at 35 minutes).

Let stand for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the pan and serving.

I served this dish room temperature and it was delicious that way, too.

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