The Yankee Chef and Durgin Park

A friend of mine, Melicia Philips is the Executive Chef at Durgin Park, at Faneuil Hall, in Boston. We have been staying in touch as of late and I asked her for a recipe she wouldn’t mind sharing with my readers. It worked out kind of funny because I had just gotten done with my own version of a Corn Pudding when she forwarded me hers. Far be it from me to outdo Chef Melicia or Durgin Park Restaurant, nor would I even attempt to, so I included both of our recipes in this column. I am blessed to be able to call her friend, and even more blessed that she has agreed to write a review for my cookbook. So without me further entertaining you with gloat, here are both recipes that have been part of our Yankee Holiday heritage for as long as us Yankees have been here in New England.

New England Shore Corn Pudding
The combination of lobster and corn just pairs two naturally sweet items so well together, I think you will find yourself making this within a week of Thanksgiving. Just remember, serve this as a side dish along with either soup, bread or the main course. You can even heighten the flavor by roasting cleaned ears of corn in the oven first for 20 minutes on 400-degrees F. Remove, let cool enough to handle and then remove the corn kernels, making this New England Shore Roasted Corn Pudding.

4 c. cooked lobster meat, chopped
4 ears of corn*, silk and husk removed.
2 c. half-and-half
4 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
4 scallions or green onions, sliced thinly
6 eggs
1/4 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Coat eight 8 oz. ramekins or one shallow 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Remove corn kernels from each ear using a sharp knife. Holding ear of corn with the stem up(it is easier if you cut off the tip of the ear so that it stands up more securely)run the knife from top to bottom over a plate. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, puree half the corn with 1/2 c. half and half.
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until almost crisp: drain fat. Add remaining corn kernels, sweet pepper and scallion; saute for 5 minutes. In bowl, whisk remaining half-and-half, eggs, flour, salt and sugar. Stir in lobster, pureed corn, sautéed vegetables and cheese. Divide among ramekins or pour into large casserole. Set individual casseroles or large casserole in baking pan and place in oven; pour hot water into baking pan to 1-inch. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or 5-10 minutes longer for large casserole dish, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

*Take the easy route if you wish. Use one(15 oz.) can of whole kernel corn-drained or the equivalent in frozen corn.

Chef Melicia’s New England Corn Custard

2 c fresh corn kernels
2 c cream(heavy is best)
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
Salt and pepper to taste
Nutmeg, to taste
Cayenne, to taste
Curry powder, to taste

Butter 15 small ramekins.Mix all ingredients together well and fill each ramekin equally with custard. Cover with foil and bake in water bath at 350 degrees F until set. Remove from water bath, let rest 5 minutes. Run a butter knife around the inside edge and invert onto a plate.