Monday, August 31, 2009

Corn, Tomatoes, Potatoes and Bacon

Lately, the recipes I've found appealing for dinner stray from the traditional protein/veggie/veggie or starch formula I picked up growing up. We always had three things on the plate, a meat -- most frequently chicken, but seafood, beef, or pork sometimes too -- a starch, Mom and I preferred potatoes or macaroni & cheese (Kraft, please!), but sometimes we had rice to appease my Dad and sister -- and a green vegetable, beans or peas in the colder months, salad in the summers. This makes it sound overly simple, and reduced, not nearly as appetizing as it was, but we ate well and healthfully.

One of my favorite dinners, I'm realizing now, was more of a one (ok, 2) pot meal, like the ones I've been drawn to lately. It's my Mom's version of Chili Mac, and it's still a homey favorite. It's basically ground beef browned with onions, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Throw in a can of tomatoes (I always preferred crushed, but sometimes they were chunkier), season, serve over noodles (we like tricolored spirals and elbows), and coat with a healthy layer of shredded cheese. Yum.

So, as I mentioned yesterday, tonight I had plans for a simple recipe I found on Epicurious called "Corn and Potatoes with Heirloom Tomatoes." We had lots of corn and tomatoes (though not heirlooms) from my abandoned inclination to make Smitten Kitchen's corn and tomato pie, and after reading the blurb,
This recipe alone is reason enough to grab your tote bag and head to the farmers market. Blackberry Farm dresses up the dish with parmesan foam and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar, but the ingredients stand on their own beautifully. Slip a fried egg on top, and you have an easy summer supper.

I started cooking.

First, brown some chopped bacon.

Pull out the bacon with a slotted spoon, then sautee a minced shallot in the fat.

Add a little white wine, then some water and the chopped Yukon Golds. Cook down for a bit, and while you're waiting, blend 1 of your 4 cups fresh corn with a bit of water, then strain out the solids and keep the milk. Add the corn and some more water, a bunch of sweet smoky paprika, fresh thyme, and salt (at just about every stage, you add a bit more salt).

Cook down till the liquid's nearly gone, then pull off the heat and add the tomatoes, the corn milk, and salt and pepper.

Top with the crumbled bacon, and add a sunny side egg to the top, if you're so inclined. We were, and the yolk made this homey meal luxurious. If I'd thought to add the parmesan and balsamic, it'd have been even more so, but it was delicious as you see it -- especially once I added some Sriracha.

I hope I revisit this recipe. It seems infinitely modifiable, and like the sort I'll be able to internalize quickly enough and free myself from constant recipe consultation.

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