Rows of kernels pop as the knife slices down the ear. Bits of corn are splattered all over the counter. Milky liquid drips into the bowl. More liquid falls as the blade scrapes the ear. It’s a messy process to get corn off the cob. That comes after the hassle of shucking. There is the big hope of not finding the dreaded worm as you pull down the husk. Removing the silk is a chore all by itself. It’s all worth it when you have fresh, just-picked corn. What to do in the off-season? Go get bags of frozen kernels and make spicy corn casserole.
Spices can warm you from the inside out. On the flip side, they can also cool you down. I always wondered why Thai food was so hot and spicy. Come to find out that it makes you sweat which has a cooling effect. Either way, I enjoy spicy food all year long. It’s no matter whether I’m trying to warm up or cool down. Adding a kick of heat to sweet corn is how I take something plain and turn it into a memorable side dish. Jalapeño peppers and Tabasco® sauce make a great sweet/hot balance with corn. Red bell pepper throws in added flavor and a pop of color. Eggs give the casserole a certain fluffiness and bind it together.
A note on the spicy corn casserole: The baking time can vary depending on the dish you use. Glass, ceramic, and stoneware ones have given me a big variation in how long it took to finish. It has varied in the 20 to 30 minute range. You will need to check the casserole as it is baking. Don’t remove it from the oven until the center is set.
Do you freeze fresh corn in the summer? Or do you rely on store-bought frozen corn through the winter months? Either one would work for this casserole, just make sure you have whole kernels to use. If you are looking for more recipes for frozen kernels, take a look at my creamed corn. Both are great side dishes for many meals.