Fresh Corn Muffin-Souffles with Tarragon

We got some delicious looking ears of sweet corn in our CSA box last week and I have been wanting to try something new that pairs the corn with fresh tarragon.  We have a French tarragon plant that gets about four feet tall each year, and I love it with fish or with new potatoes, but thought it sounded like it would also complement sweet corn.  I decided to try a souffled-muffin, leavened only with whipped egg whites, and it turned out to be a “keeper” recipe.  We got four nice ears of gold-and-cream colored Colorado sweet corn from the CSA:

I shucked the corn and removed the silk, then cut the kernels off of the cobs.  To do this I brace one end of the cob in a deep bowl and slice down (away from the hands!), then flip it over and do the other half.  I ended up with about two cups of fresh corn.  To this, I added about a fourth of a cup of fresh tarragon, chopped.  If you haven’t tried tarragon it has a light anise-type flavor and it is best used fresh.  It loses a lot of flavor when dried, although when layered with sea salt it makes a great winter sprinkle with a good herb flavor.  Since we have such a monster plant, that is one of the ways I save the herb for cold-weather use, and the sea salt also makes a great gift.

Along with the tarragon, I mixed the corn with a cup of yellow cornmeal (at sea level reduce this by about two tablespoons), about a half teaspoon of sea salt, a sprinkle of ground white pepper, and a tablespoon of olive oil.  I then divided four large eggs and stirred the yolks into the corn mixture:

This makes a very dry batter that will lighten up with the addition of the egg whites.  I whipped the egg whites to a medium peak:

At that point I stirred about a third of the beaten egg whites into the corn mixture just to lighten it up, then folded in the rest.  Do not over-fold or they will not puff up!  I then spooned heaping half-cups of the mixture into large muffin cups (the one-cup size that come six to a pan) that had been sprayed with cooking spray:

I placed these in a preheated 375 degree oven and baked for 25 minutes.  At sea level it will take a bit longer, so just look for a nicely puffed up muffin that is light golden and slightly springy in the middle:

Run a knife around the edges and serve hot for the best texture, with or without a slather of butter:

These make a really light-textured muffin with fresh corn flavor, and they are still nice and light when cold, even though they do deflate a bit.  If you are looking for a new way to use up some of that sweet corn, give these a try.

We also had some fantastically juicy peaches in the CSA box last week, and I am hoping for more so I can do a peach blog.  If you have produce and need ideas, just let me know–I love a challenge!

Thanks for reading,

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5 Responses to Fresh Corn Muffin-Souffles with Tarragon

  1. Anonymous August 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    Speaking of salt, I have a question/challenge. How do I use the fancy salts? I bought a smoked salt and a "fumee de sel" at Whole Foods recently and I'm not sure what to put them on. JED

  2. FRS August 15, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    I like to use them as "finishing" salts, as in sprinkling them on a finished dish so you get the flavor and slight crunch. However, I love to cook with smoked salts so with those I use them in early stages. Large-crystal salts I save for a finish. I just got some pecan-smoked sea salt from a friend and it is pretty amazing.

  3. Anonymous August 15, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

    Angela: Tarragon loves eggs, cream, cheese and butter, so another good way to save it for winter is in a compound butter, frozen pats of it. I'm gonna try the salt as well though–Juliet

  4. FRS August 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    Great idea, I hadn't even thought of that! I will make a few rolls for the freezer.

  5. Anonymous August 15, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    Early tomorrow morning your father will pick the fresh corn, shuck it,and I will bake fresh corn souffle tarragon muffins for our dinner. YUM Thanks for another tasty recipe using fresh tarragon. Juliet, I like the compound butter with tarragon idea too. Angela, we could have the butter at our 2010 family Christmas gathering in Indiana. Mom

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