Maque Choux for Corn Season

If you live in certain corners of the country, you’ve probably noticed that corn is starting to creep into markets…

And that means summer’s MVV (Most Valuable Vegetable, naturally) will be showing up on our dinner table at least a few times a week in as many ways as possible. (If you’re anything like me, don’t you feel like you wait all year long just for corn to be in season?)

I’ll tell you what’s up first: This Creole corn-and-pepper dish called Maque Choux. It’s a creamy version from Toni Tipton-Martin’s seminal Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking and I promise you’ll be making it all summer.

Maque Choux

Tipton-Martin credits this recipe to Monique Wells, a Texan expat living in Paris. Wells helped “open the eyes of elite French cooks to the flavors of the American South and Southwest” and in the process achieved something she was dedicated to: uplifting the image of soul food. Serves 4

3 to 4 ears corn, shucked
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup finely diced onion
½ cup finely diced green bell pepper
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
⅛ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
¾ cup heavy whipping cream or half-and-half
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced green onions

Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the corn cobs, then turn the knife and use the dull side to scrape the cob down to release any remaining bits of corn and corn milk.

In a heavy skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat until melted and sizzling. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the thyme, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, sugar (if using), and corn. Cook, stirring, until the corn is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and cook 5 minutes more to thicken. Stir in the parsley and green onions. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper.

P.S. A tomato, corn and chickpea salad and the ultimate veggie sandwich.

(Photo by Jerrelle Guy, who also judged our brownie taste test. Recipe reprinted with permission from Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin, copyright © 2019. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.)