Well, no matter what you call it, it’s one of the happiest pairings of two of our best summer staples: small, sweet creek shrimp and freshly gathered corn. And while peeling small shrimp is a little tedious and the corn has to be cut from the cob just before mixing it in, this homey casserole nonetheless is a snap to put together.
Paired with a simple green salad and biscuits or a crusty loaf of bread, it has no equal on a warm summer evening.
Lowcountry Shrimp and Corn Pie
2-4 whole ears of fresh sweet corn (see step 1)
4 green scallions or small green onions, washed, trimmed, and thinly sliced, or 1 medium yellow onion, stem and roots trimmed, split lengthwise, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup light cream or half-and-half
2 tablespoons all-purpose or instant blending flour
1 tablespoon each chopped fresh thyme and parsley
Salt, ground cayenne, and whole white or black pepper in a mill
Whole nutmeg in a grater
1 pound (headless weight) small shrimp, peeled
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350° F. Lightly butter a 9-inch square or round ceramic casserole or soufflé dish. Shuck the corn and brush away the silk. Cut enough kernels as close to the cob as possible to make 2 cups. Put the onions and butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté, tossing frequently, until the onions are softened but not colored, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat.
2. Whisk together the eggs and cream in a large mixing bowl and mix in the onion, corn, herbs, and flour. Season with a large pinch of salt, a small one of cayenne, several grindings of pepper, and a liberal grating of nutmeg. Mix well, stir in the shrimp, and pour it into the prepared dish.
3. Bake in the center of the oven until the custard is set and the shrimp are cooked through, about 30-35 minutes, depending on the shape of your dish. The wider and shallower it is, the quicker the pudding will cook, so keep an eye on it and be careful not to overcook it, or the eggs will separate and the shrimp will be tough. Let it settle for a few minutes before serving it warm or at room temperature.