Roasted Corn Polenta

CHEF BRENDAN PELLEY OF ZEBRA'S BISTRO, MEDFIELD MA
PHOTO BY MICHAEL PIAZZA / STYLED BY CATRINE KELTY

One of my earliest kitchen jobs was when I was a kid and my mom would have me shuck the corn for dinner out on the back deck. That smell of freshly shucked corn always brings me back to my childhood and how at a very early age I began to associate happiness, and a feeling of usefulness, with cooking! My favorite way of eating corn is definitely steamed or boiled and rubbed with salted butter—you can’t go wrong there. At the restaurant we serve Verrill Farm’s corn in this Roasted Corn Polenta alongside a grilled hanger steak, roasted cherry tomatoes, and grilled red onion chimichurri.

Ingredients:
6 ears local corn, shucked
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and spread them on a baking sheet tossed with olive oil and seasoned with salt. Roast about 10 minutes until golden brown in places.

Place the cobs in a pot with the onion and celery, cover with water, and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for about an hour to make a corn stock.

For the polenta, bring 2 cups of the corn stock and the heavy cream to a simmer. Slowly whisk in the corn meal. Cook 5 minutes, stirring continually. Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes stirring occasionally. To finish, fold in the roasted corn kernels, the butter, and grated Parmigiano. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with more Parmigiano grated over the top.