Sweet Corn Polenta with Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette

Austin spent several hours Sunday afternoon helping his Aunt Karen to shuck 174 cobs of corn so we all knew we were destined to eat something corn related (and delicious) that evening. Her kitchen and back porch were a hive of activity and a well-oiled assembly line of productivity... huge bags full of discarded husks and threads; bushels overflowing with shucked corn; kitchen sink, backsplash and kitchen floor splattered with creamy corn milk, and all four burners of her stove occupied with huge pots of gently bubbling buttery corn. Before we knew it, over 16 dozen cobs had been stripped bare and were ready to be jarred or bagged, then frozen and stored for the winter. I'm grateful that she had kindly embraced the messy part of the process and we simply got to walk away with a huge pot of the finished product... the fruits of Austin's labour.

This recipe grabbed me because it called for the corn kernels themselves, instead of cornmeal, for the polenta. We simply scooped up a few cupfuls of the fresh corn, sauteed it with shallotsand some garlic, added just a wee bit of cream since the corn was uber-creamy itself, and threw together the vinaigrette in the food processor while it was on the stove. The zippiness of the vinaigrette and the slight tang of the goat cheese were the perfect contrast to the sweetness of the corn. A really nice light meal for a fall evening.

serves 4

For the polenta

6 ears of sweet corn

2 tbsp butter

1 shallot, finely minced

1 garlic clove, crushed into a paste

2 to 3 tbsp heavy cream (optional)

For the vinaigrette

1 large tomato, cored and chopped into three or four large pieces

a handful of basil leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

For garnish

any crumbly, salty cheese (I used goat cheese)

fresh basil

Using a box grater, grate the corn kernels from the corn cob. Make sure you keep the milky liquid that comes along with the kernels.

In a skillet, heat the butter until melted. Add the shallot and garlic, and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add the corn, cream (if using), a pinch of salt, and stir. Cook over medium heat until the corn liquid and cream clink to the corn mixture and the polenta is the consistency you want. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the vinaigrette, whirl all the ingredients in a food processor, adding salt and seasoning to taste.

Top each serving of the polenta with a swirl of the vinaigrette and some goat cheese.

Rest of the week

Sept 9 Diner food at 50s dinner/dance at golf club

Sept 10 Friend's 50th birthday celebration at Amuse

Sept 11 Sweet corn polenta