Sweet corn is at its peak, so take advantage with this recipe highlighting Polenta and sautéed sweet corn. Polenta refers to a porridge created from coarsely ground Italian cornmeal and is a dish from Northern Italy. We top off this summer delicacy with butter sautéed sweet vidalia onions and mushrooms. In this recipe, we feature an easy corn stock to make for the Polenta to add just a touch more corn sweetness. If you have an extra hour – give it a try. We promise you won’t be sorry. No time to make stock? To keep it vegetarian, use boxed vegetable stock, or we also offer the option of boxed chicken stock.
4 ears of corn still in husks (about 4-5 pounds)
4 ½ cups corn stock (see easy recipe below), vegetable stock, or chicken stock
Box of instant polenta – 4 servings, we prefer Delallo
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, extra if needed
4 tablespoons grape seed or canola oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
2 cups thinly slice vidalia or sweet onion
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, divided
Fresh ground black pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
Remove the husks and silks from the corncobs. Using a sharp knife cut the corn kernels off the cobs. Place the kernels in a bowl, cover, and set aside. Discard the silks but save the husks and cobs if making corn stock (see directions below). If using vegetable or chicken stock, measure to the amount of liquid needed on the package of polenta, (note: the stock replaces the water needed to make polenta) cover, and gently heat to warm in a large saucepan.
In a 10″ sauté pan heated to medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the corn and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the raw taste is gone from the corn, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm.
In a 12″ sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the mushrooms in one layer and sear on each side, about 1 minute per side. Add the onions over the mushrooms and sprinkle the onions with a teaspoon of salt. Then stir together and sauté for 5 minutes or until all the juices have evaporated. Reduce the heat to low, add 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, and cook on low until the onions are browned all over and softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In the meantime, turn the heat up on the stock and bring it to a boil – if the stock has evaporated too much, simply add water to the amount needed to prepare the polenta. Prepare the polenta using the directions on the package. When all the water is evaporated and the Polenta is soft, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the Parmesan cheese. Stir until the polenta is creamy. If needed, add more butter, one tablespoon at a time, up to two tablespoons, to reach a creamy texture. Stir in the corn and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the Polenta in warmed bowls, top with 2 tablespoons of Monterey Jack cheese then the sautéed mushrooms and onions. Top evenly with the remaining fresh thyme. Makes 4 entrée servings or six side servings.
Corn husks and cobs from 4 ears of corn, cobs cut in half, discard silks
Small white onion cut in quarters
Place the corn husks, cobs, and onion in a large saucepan. Add 8 cups water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for one hour. Strain the stock into a clean pan or bowl through a fine mesh strainer and discard the husks, cobs, and onion. Place the strained liquid back on the stove and add 1 teaspoon of salt and the peppercorns. Bring the mixture back to a simmer and reduce until you have 4-1/2 cups of liquid remaining – about 15-20 minutes. Cover and keep warm.