It is typically earthy, hearty and filling. This version starts there, then elevates the dish to something lighter and even more heavenly tasting.
When you whip the egg whites separately and then fold them into the rest of the ingredients, the dish becomes almost like a souffle, rising in the oven and emerging beautifully puffed and browned, with a texture that's delightfully less dense than that of a typical spoonbread. Additions of soft goat's cheese and chives give it a heady, more sophisticated aroma and taste. It all makes a flavorful cloud bed for the niblets of sweet corn that are studded throughout.
Using low-fat milk and just enough of the chevre (which naturally has about a third less fat and fewer calories than hard cheeses such as cheddar) makes it much more healthful than a typical spoonbread. The result is stunning, good-for-you comfort food with a high-end appeal.
CORN SPOONBREAD WITH GOAT CHEESE AND CHIVES
MAKES: 6 servings (makes 5 1/2 cups)
• 2 cups low-fat milk (1 percent)
• 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (from 2 ears)
• 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
• 3 ounces soft goat cheese (chevre; 1/2 cup)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
• 2 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks
• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use cooking oil spray to grease a 2-quart souffle dish or high-sided baking dish.
Combine the milk and corn in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to medium and gradually stir in the cornmeal. Cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens to a doughlike consistency. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the cheese and salt until evenly distributed (the white should disappear). Transfer to a mixing bowl; let cool for 15 minutes, then whisk in the chives and egg yolks until well incorporated.
Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; beat on medium-low speed until foamy, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat for about 2 minutes, until soft peaks form.
Fold a third of the beaten egg whites into the cornmeal mixture to loosen it a bit, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites just until no trace of white is left. Transfer to the baking dish; bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until slightly puffed, golden brown on top and just set.
Nutrition | Per serving: 170 calories, 10 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 230 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar