Tawny Corn and Vegetable Pudding

Adapted from: Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Café
Preparation time: 30 minutes of work, plus 30 minutes to bake
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

In this simple, nicely textured dish, the classic combination of cornmeal and cheese is spiked with a hit of chile, which both blends in and stands out at the same time. Try serving this for breakfast or brunch.

  • Use a fine grade of cornmeal (not the coarser polenta) for best results.

  • Once baked, this recipe freezes and reheats well. To freeze individual squares, wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap and then seal them in a heavy zip-style plastic bag. Defrosting and reheating are easy in a microwave.
Nonstick spray for the pan
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 cup minced fresh chiles (poblano or anaheim) or canned green chiles
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen, defrosted if frozen)
1 tablespoon pure ground chile powder
1/4 cup minced scallion
3 cups milk
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup (packed) grated extra-sharp cheddar

Optional Toppings
Sour cream with chives
Salsa of your choice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F for a glass pan). Lightly spray a 9- by 13-inch pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Heat the olive oil or melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the chiles and salt, and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the chiles are soft.
  3. Add the corn, chile powder, and scallion, and sauté; for another 3 minutes or so. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  4. Heat the milk in a medium-sized saucepan until it almost boils. Turn the heat down, and whisk steadily as you sprinkle in the cornmeal. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked vegetables (from steps 2 and 3), the beaten eggs, and half of the cheese. When it is thoroughly combined, transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and bake for 10 minutes longerÑor until the pudding is firm in the center.
  7. Cut into squares and serve hot or warm, with the topping of your choice.
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