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Mexican Street Corn with Lacto Fermented Blueberry Puree

Mexican Street Corn with Lacto Fermented Blueberry Puree

My take on Mexican street corn, inspired by Noma’s Guide to Fermentation.

 

For quite awhile I have been wanting to dip my toes into bubbly springs of fermentation. Noma, the two-Michelin starred restaurant in Copenhagen on my bucket list, put out a book for cooks like me. The Noma Guide to Fermentation walks the home cook through homemade vinegar, kombucha, lacto-fermented produce, koji, garum, etc.

I decided to make the lacto-fermented blueberries. In the book, there is a photo of this fermented blueberry puree brushed on several ears of corn. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The complement in color was visually satisfying and I anticipated the pop of flavor these little berries would have.

I let my blueberries ferment for two weeks before I pureed the product and strained it through a fine-mesh sieve. A luxurious sauce of velvety purple. With one spoonful, I understood the complement of this ferment with corn. Salty, sour blueberries put a beautiful brine on the sweet pops of corn. And I am almost always craving Mexican street corn so it only seemed natural.

I tried brushing it on the corn and cooking it on high in a skillet full of burnt butter, but the puree just fell off and burned at the bottom. This is when I really started wishing for the cooking gods to drop a grill in my backyard. I scratched that method and boiled the corn. After it was boiled, I cut it off and really gave it some caramelization back in the skillet with some butter and salt. I splashed some of the beautiful ferment on the plate, loaded it with the corn, and topped it with queso fresco, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.  

The glossy ferment looks really pretty on the matte black plate, however the color is somewhat lost here. But not the flavor!

The glossy ferment looks really pretty on the matte black plate, however the color is somewhat lost here. But not the flavor!

White plates to the rescue! Look at that color. I want to swatch it and put that color up on a wall!

White plates to the rescue! Look at that color. I want to swatch it and put that color up on a wall!

 
Yield: 4

Mexican Street Corn with Lacto Fermented Blueberries

A briny puree of purple complement the sweet pops of corn, tamed by the queso fresco, brightened by a squeeze of lime, and enhanced with finely chopped cilantro. The recipe isn't difficult, it is just time-consuming. Invite some dinner guests over to sample your work and the interesting flavor combinations.

ingredients:

Noma's Lacto Fermented Blueberries
  • 1 kilogram of blueberries (about 35 oz)
  • 20 grams of non-iodized salt
  • Mix the salt and blueberries together in a bowl, then transfer them to the fermentation vessel, making sure to scrape all the salt from the bowl into the container, and press the mixture down with a weight. (A heavy-duty zip-top bag filled with water will do the trick.) Cover the jar or crock with a lid, but don’t seal it so tightly that gas can’t escape.
  • Ferment the blueberries in a warm place until they have soured slightly but still have their sweet, fruity perfume. This should take 4 to 5 days at 28°C/82°F, or a few days longer at room temperature, but you should start taste-testing after the first few days. If you’re fermenting in a vacuum-sealed bag, you’ll also need to “burp” the bag whenever it balloons up. Cut a corner open, release the gas, taste the blueberries, and reseal the bag.
  • Once the blueberries have reached your desired level of sourness, carefully remove them from the bag or fermentation vessel, and strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve. The blueberries and their juice can be stored in separate containers in the refrigerator for a few days without a noticeable change in flavor. To prevent further fermentation, you can also freeze them separately in vacuum-sealed bags or zip-top freezer bags with the air removed.
Mexican Street Corn
  • 4 cobs of fresh corn, kernels removed
  • 1 cilantro bunch
  • 4 oz queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Korean chile flakes (optional)
  • Lacto-fermented blueberry puree
  • Heat up a skillet with butter & oil on medium high heat. Add the corn kernels and cook until they are golden brown.  Don't be afraid to let really caramelize in the pan. 

instructions:

Assemble
  1. Splash a generous amount of the blueberry puree on each plate. Load the puree with the cooked corn kernels, top with the crumbled queso fresco, a generous portion of chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a sprinkle of salt to taste. If you want to add a little heat, top it with some Korean chile flakes or Thai chile flakes.
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