Corn-Basil Muffins

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA/SYLED BY CATRINE KELTY

As with the Tomato–Feta Muffins, waiting for July and August when local New England corn is at its best really sets these muffins apart. They work well with grilled or baked chicken and seafood dishes. I’ve also split these muffins and fried them in a little butter and eaten them for breakfast—heavenly!

Corn–Basil mixture:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 cup corn kernels (fresh is best but frozen can be used out of season)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons

In a skillet, heat olive oil and add garlic. Sauté for about a minute over medium heat. Add corn and continue to sauté for 2–3 minutes, or until soft. Set this aside to cool while making the Master Muffin Recipe.

For this recipe, again reduce the sugar by half; add 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper and increase the salt by ¼ teaspoon. After the master recipe is complete, fold in the sautéed corn, grated parmesan and basil. Prepare a muffin tin with nonstick spray, being careful to spray the flat surface where the muffin dome will spill over. Insert fluted muffin papers if you wish, then fill each muffin cup to the top and bake as above.

MASTER MUFFIN RECIPE
MAKES APPROXIMATELY 24 MINI MUFFINS OR 12 LARGE MUFFINS

¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter
2 eggs, room temperature
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 400°F (on convection setting, if you have it). In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time and mix until just combined. In a separate bowl, sift together all dry ingredients and then slowly add to the creamed butter followed by the milk. Stir until the mixture just comes together. Do not overmix—a few lumps are fine.

Prepare a muffin tin with nonstick spray, being careful to spray the flat surface where the muffin dome will spill over. Insert fluted muffin papers if you wish, then fill each muffin cup to the top. Bake approximately 12–15 minutes for mini muffins and 20–25 minutes for large muffins. The muffins are done when the muffin tops spring back, the edges are golden brown and/or a cake tester comes out clean.

*Note:  I sometimes replace 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with an equal amount of whole-wheat white flour, which won’t much affect the recipe but adds a slight nutty flavor and almost imperceptible crunch.

Lisa Sewall graduated from Johnson and Wales in Providence. She then came to Boston and worked at Biba, before going to Nantucket to work at the White Elephant, Summer House, and Wauwinet. She returned to Boston and was the Pastry Chef at L’Espalier (where she met, Jeremy, her husband.) For five years, she lived in Northern California as the opening Pastry Chef at Ondine in Sausalito. In 2006, she and Jeremy opened Lineage in Brookline. Lisa and Jeremy have three kids which keeps her out of professional kitchens for the moment!