smoky creamed corn

4 to 6    |   
Prep Time:
10 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
12 minutes

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creamed corn

Everyone says “American as apple pie!” but for July 4th, I feel like the most American food is corn. I mean, what’s a summer party without fresh corn? When I see those cobs with their silky tops pointing at me from the produce bin or selling for 50 cents a pop at the farmers’ market, I can’t resist.

There are a thousand things you can do with fresh corn, but once you try this, I swear it will be your number one. Here’s why: it’s an irresistible blend of hot, sour, sweet, and salty. And because the hot comes from smoked paprika, this begs to be served at a barbecue, perhaps with these amazing ribs and potato salad or coleslaw. Feel free to proclaim, “American as smoky creamed corn!”


5 ears white or yellow corn, shucked (or 4 cups frozen corn)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
kosher salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika (pimenton picante)
1 lime
about 2 oz crumbled queso fresco, optional


Break each corn cob in half and with a chef’s knife, slice kernels off and place in a bowl (using the half cob helps keep the kernels from flying all over the place). With the dull spine of the knife, scrape the cobs from top to bottom to extract the “milk.” Scrape this into the bowl.

In a wide saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the corn and a large pinch of salt and stir for 1 minute to heat through. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and let corn sweat in its own juices until just tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in cream and pimenton and bring mixture a boil; reduce heat and cook, stirring often, until cream is thick and mostly absorbed by corn, about 5 minutes. Cut lime in half and squeeze in juice from one half; taste and add more lime juice and salt as needed to balance sweetness of corn. If made ahead, set corn aside in pan for up to 2 hours. To serve, reheat gently (adding a splash of cream if it’s thickened too much) and offer with queso fresco to sprinkle on top if desired.