Creamy Corn Gratin—A Tried and True Classic for Labor Day Cookouts

For my husband’s birthday earlier this summer, I prepared a menu of his favorites—steamed lobsters, heirloom tomatoes drizzled with vinaigrette, and a golden corn gratin. Although the lobsters were the star of the meal, the following day my spouse complimented the corn dish more than once. He liked it so much that I am planning to serve the gratin again over the long holiday weekend.

A sauté of fresh corn kernels and chopped leeks, combined with a savory custard of eggs and Half and Half, as well as a generous addition of grated Gruyere cheese formed the foundation of this classic recipe. When baked the top was firm with golden touches of melted cheese and the mixture beneath rich and creamy.

Although I like to serve this side straight from the oven, you can prepare it a day ahead and reheat when needed. It made an excellent partner to lobsters, but would be just as tempting offered with barbecued ribs, hamburgers, grilled chicken, fish, or steaks. A single recipe serves 6 and calls for a 2-quart baking dish, but you can increase the recipe by half (do 1 1/2 times) and use a 3-quart casserole to serve a crowd of 10.

Happy Labor Day weekend to all! Travel safely and eat well!

 

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Golden Corn Gratin with Gruyere and Chives

1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter plus extra for the baking dish
1 cup chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
4 cups corn kernels (scraped from 7 to 8 ears)
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 large eggs
2 cups Half and Half
2 cups (6 to 7 oz) grated Gruyère
1 1/2 tbsp chopped chives

1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a shallow 2- quart oven-to-table baking dish.

2. In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, heat oil and butter until hot, then add the leeks and sauté, stirring, until slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add corn and cook, stirring often (but not continuously) until corn is lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute more. Remove from heat and stir in salt and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and Half and Half together until blended. Stir in corn mixture, and all but 1/2 cup of the cheese. Mix well. Transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.

4. Bake until a knife or tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, and top is lightly browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove and cool 5 minutes. (Gratin can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat, uncovered, in a preheated 350-degree oven 20 minutes or longer.)

6.To serve, sprinkle crumbled chives over the top of the gratin. Serve warm. Serves 6.

Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2018

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