Proving once again that simpler is better.
Since it seems unlikely we’ll be spending $1,000 on dinner at the only 3-star Michelin-rated restaurant in the Bay Area, a mere hour and a half away in Napa Valley at The French Laundry, I decided to bring Thomas Keller’s culinary expertise to my house. Actually, I was looking for a recipe involving fish and the beautiful fava beans I bought at the farmers market, and Mr. Keller’s Sauteed Cod with Creamed Corn and Summer Succotash was the only meal appearing on my Epicurious iPhone app. Lucky me. And double lucky this was one of the simplest preparations for all of the Keller recipes I’ve come across so far. (Here’s an exceptionally friendly collection of links to online recipes from his Ad Hoc at Home cookbook.)
I had most ingredients on hand, and I bought five large, juicy cobs of corn and about 2/3 lb. of fresh ling cod from G&G Market. Cooking for only two, I cut the recipe quantities in half, and only ended up using four of the corn cobs. I’ve never cooked fava beans before, and I’m sorry to say I overcooked them slightly, which made them mealy and my least favorite part of the succotash. Also, the entire meal seemed to be heavy on the corn, so next time I might just do an arugula salad instead of the corn/bean/tomato mixture. Nevertheless, the colorful medley made for a gorgeous topper, and the fresh herbs and tomatoes fit well with the lightness of the overall meal.
I’m not a huge fan of creamed corn, though I’ve only ever had it from a can. I LOVE fresh corn, and this dish is one of my new summer favorites, especially considering how easy it was to make. Simply food process about half of the corn kernels and press the corn milk out of the pulp. I used a mesh strainer over a bowl and smashed it down with the back of a measuring cup. Then I heated the corn milk in a pan. After thickening slightly, but before boiling, I added the rest of the corn kernels, the cream and salt and pepper. I was surprised by two things: 1. the amount of cream was minimal for how creamy the dish actually was, and 2. the corn kernels only needed to be stirred in for about two minutes before it was done. I worried they’d be undercooked and starchy, but instead they were sweet, crisp and tender.
I cooked the fish last, though I had it salted and peppered and ready to go as soon as the succotash and creamed corn were ready. I coated the bottom of a pan with olive oil and let it get nice and hot. I cooked it for about four minutes on each side, as suggested, then drained them on a paper bag before plating.
The saltiness of the fish paired with the sweet creaminess of the corn was exactly what I was hoping for. Simple genius.