I usually make this savory crisp when corn is fully in season and something like 5 ears for $1 (I rarely grow it myself for that very reason; it probably costs more than that to water it), but given that I had some prosciutto left over from the gorgonzola- and prosciutto-stuffed chicken breast with strawberry-balsamic sauce, I thought I’d roll the dice and see if I could find some early-season corn on the cheap. I indeed did find some, but it was hard and pale; not the juicy, yellow sweet corn I was wishfully expecting, even though I don’t recall ever seeing it before July. I ended up having to buy a bag of frozen corn, which, while never as good as fresh, certainly is better than tasteless and unripe. Anyhow, this is a great light, unexpected summer meal when paired with a salad, or works well as a side dish for grilled chicken or other meats when plain ol’ corn on the cob won’t do.
Recipe adapted from Mary Cech’s Savory Baking. It makes 2 dinner servings when paired with salad, or 4 side-dish servings.
• 2 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (3 or 4 ears): $1.20
• 5 T butter: 30 cents
• 1 small shallot, chopped (about 1/4 cup): 10 cents
• 1/4 cup celery, finely chopped (about one small stalk): 9 cents
• 3 slices of prosciutto, torn into 1-inch pieces (a package of prosciutto with about 6 slices is $1.99 at Grocery Outlet): $1
• 3/4 cup half-and-half: 45 cents
• 3/4 cup whole milk: 12 cents
• 4 tsp chopped fresh sage (garden): $0
• 1/4 cup flour: 3 cents
• 1/4 cup whole oats: 2 cents
• 1/2 cup panko (or other coarse bread crumbs): 50 cents
• 1 egg yolk (garden): $0
• Salt & pepper: 2 cents
• Garden salad (optional)
TOTAL: $3.84/2 = $1.92/serving
Grease a 9×9 Pyrex or similar-size dish with butter or oil. Preheat oven to 350 F.
For the topping:
Combine the flour, oats, panko, and about 1/4 tsp table salt. Cut 3 T of the butter into small cubes. Work it into the dry mixture with your fingers until the whole thing is crumbly. Add the egg yolk and combine with a fork. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the filling:
Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 T butter and heat until foaming. Add the shallot, celery, corn, prosciutto, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until shallot and celery are starting to become translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Add the sage, half-and-half, and milk. Bring to a boil and boil until mixture is thickened and much of the liquid has evaporated, roughly 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour filling into the prepared Pyrex. Sprinkle the top evenly with the topping. Bake until filling is bubbling and top is browned, about 20 minutes. Serve with salad, if desired.