08 August 2013
Fresh corn and basil schmear
Summer produce is everywhere. What better way to eat it than smashed into a whack of cream cheese and smeared on the toasty bagel of your choice? Welcome to another round of homemade schmears: summer edition.
This time I cut the kernels off an ear of fresh white corn, sliced a big handful of basil leaves, and threw them in a bowl with several thick slices of cream cheese and a little pepper. Voila!
I left my corn kernels uncooked because I like the freshness, flavor, and subtle crunch of raw sweet corn, but a quick saute with some finely diced shallot would be an excellent variation. Bonus: this method will also work well in the middle of winter, when all you have is a bag of frozen kernels. Throw in a spoonful of pesto and you're in business.
Obviously, you can choose to make these totally vegan with the cream cheese substitute of your choice. And isn't that better than having plain hummus yet again at the bagel shop?
Height of summer schmear
(aka: Fresh corn and basil schmear)
1 ear fresh corn
10-20 leaves fresh basil
half a brick of cream cheese
pepper to taste
This makes enough to cover two bagels.
Husk & de-silk your ear of corn and cut the kernels off the cob. I find that the easiest way to do this is to lay the ear down horizontally on a cutting board and just slice down along the side, then rotate & repeat. This way the corn mostly stays put instead of flying all over the kitchen, and you don't have to break out a giant bowl or anything.
Wash a big handful of basil leaves and slice them finely. I did a chiffonade and then cut across the pile several times to make small bits.
Cut your cream cheese into rough slices and put it in a mixing bowl of your choice. Add your corn and basil, grind in some pepper, and mash the whole business together with a fork until mixed well. Evaluate your schmear and decide if you want to add more veg of any type. I think some finely minced red bell pepper or shredded zucchini that's been salted and drained would both be pretty great here, but the simplicity of basil and corn is pretty amazing all by itself.
To serve, toast a halved bagel or two. Spread your schmear on the bagel halves and top with a few slices of fresh summer tomato. This particular tomato is a Caspian Pink heirloom I grew in my backyard. ZOMG SO GOOD. I may be growing one or two of these every summer for the next rest of my life.
Since tomato is slippery, it's best to put your bagel halves together and secure them with a toothpick or something similar before you try to eat them. I did not do this, which meant that I ended up squirting tomato slices and cream cheese halfway across the kitchen table. But then, the whole business was so good that it almost didn't matter.
More seasonal summer schmears!
- Baby beet and carrot schmear: grate and mix with cream cheese for a crunchy, sweet, and violent fuschia schmear.
- Zucchini bread schmear: grate, salt, & drain a fresh zucchini and crush in some toasted walnuts.
- Pungent pepper schmear: chop some roasted red pepper and a kalamata olive or two, and top with lots of crispy romaine. Feta optional.
- Fruit and herb schmear: dice up some firm nectarines or peaches and a big handful of fresh basil and mix them up. Do you want some crunch? How about adding some toasted pine nuts?
- Homemade jam schmear: are you surrounded by beautiful jars of freshly made summer jam? Mix it into some cream cheese and hold on to your hat!
Previously on the schmear show: all the herbs.
What new & interesting vegetable or fruit combinations do you want in your next schmear?