It’s another little recipe for using fresh corn off the cob, one based on a traditional Cajun recipe, but mine took a small departure with the ingredients I had on hand, and hence its name: “Mock” Maque Choux. For one thing, I wanted some of that smoky flavor you get with using sausage or pork in this dish, but I had no sausage. What I did have was chipotles in adobo, and since the adobo sauce has some smoky heat that goes so well with sweet…how about that as a substitute?
In the end, this is a vegetarian version that acts as more of a side dish, but you could easily add some andouille sausage or tasso, or top it with some grilled shrimp to this if you like. Meat or no, it’s a wonderful, sweet, spicy and rich corn preparation, perfect for a holiday grill out or any time.
“Mock” Maque Choux
Makes 6 servings
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ears of fresh corn, husks and silks removed
1/2 of a peeled and finely diced red onion
1 cup of finely diced celery
1 small orange bell pepper (or you can use red or green), seeded and finely diced
1 1/2 Tablespoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chilis
2 Tablespoons of finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt A few grinds of fresh black pepper
1 1/2 cups small diced grape tomatoes
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Additional chiffonade of basil leaves for garnish
Cut the kernels of corn off the cob with a sharp knife into a bowl, cutting about 3/4 through each kernel. Take the reserved cobs and scrape the back of your knife down the cob to extract any milk, letting it run into a separate small bowl. Reserve the corn milk.
Melt the butter in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Add the corn, onion, celery, bell pepper, adobo sauce, thyme, a couple of grinds of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 15 to 18 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic, tomatoes, corn milk, 1 tablespoon of fresh basil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, if desired, and a bit more freshly ground black pepper. Serve with a garnish of more fresh basil and enjoy!