Sweet Yellow Corn Sformatino
Chef Ben Balesteri
The word “sformatino” comes from the Italian sformare, which means to unmold. Chef Ben Balesteri of Poggio Trattoria in Sausalito bakes these savory individual corn custards in ramekins, then unmolds them for an elegant presentation, surrounded by fresh arugula, herbs and cherry tomatoes. Although fresh sweet corn may not be available yet in your area, file this recipe away to try when it comes to market.
5 tbsp. butter, divided
1½ cups fresh corn kernels
3 tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
2 egg yolks
Salt and white pepper, to taste
1 cup wild mushrooms, cleaned
1 sprig, thyme, leaves chopped
½ cup arugula
¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
8-12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Bring large kettle of water to a boil. Butter insides of six 4-oz. ramekins.
- For sformatino, melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add corn kernels and cook until tender. Stir in flour until blended to make a roux. Whisk in milk and cream; continue to cook until mixture boils and thickens; remove from heat.
- Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Pass mixture through a sieve into a mixing bowl. Whisk together eggs and yolks; whisk into corn batter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide sformatino batter between the prepared ramekins. (They can be refrigerated at this point for 2 to 3 days and then cooked.) When ready to cook, preheat oven to 300 F. Place ramekins in large shallow baking pan. Fill with boiling water so that water comes halfway up sides of ramekins. Transfer to oven and cook 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until custards are set and not jiggly at center.
- To serve, melt 2 tablespoons butter in large sauté pan; add mushrooms, thyme and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms are just tender. Unmold sformatino on serving plate. Evenly distribute mushrooms, arugula, shaved Parmesan cheese and cherry tomatoes around each plate.
Photo courtesy of California Milk Advisory Board