This is a truly luxurious summer weekend breakfast , and if you serve it to another person, with say, some boiling hot, fragrant coffee, steamed milk, and a large bowl of beautifully firm, sweet dark bing cherries which were on special for $1.99 per pound, and if that person does not love you forever as a result of your kindness in this matter, then you might just think "good riddance", because who needs someone like that around the house? But it won't happen. Because who do you know who doesn't love all these things to bits? A screened porch would be a nice spot for this breakfast, which is best enjoyed in a bathrobe of some kind.
So, the corn thing- you don't even have to make it correctly to win the prize. If it doesn't come out of the pan as a cake, you just scrape it out, mix in the crusty bits, and serve it in a bowl. It was created by Jean Halberstam, wife of writer David, written about some time ago in the NYTimes magazine, and inspired, JH said, by a Lee Bailey recipe. This is a recipe from a woman who deep fries peaches, so you can see it is not simple out of any sort of laziness, but rather because it is best.
This is what you do:
Preheat the oven to 450F. When the oven is hot, pour 2 tbsps of a mild-tasting vegetable oil into a 9" cast iron frying pan, and swish it around so that the sides and bottom are well coated. Put the skillet in the oven for 30 minutes. Set the table, make the coffee, wash your nice cherries, and put them in a bowl.
With a sharp knife, cut the kernels from six ears of corn, catching the kernels and the juices in a bowl. Add one tsp salt, 2 tbsps cream, and 1/4 cup of flour, and mix it up. Pour the contents of the bowl into the scalding hot skillet, flatten it judiously with a spatula, and cook until it is brown around the edges, and a little bit browned on top, too. Meanwhile, drink the coffee and eat the cherries, while this goes on- it takes about 40 minutes. Make another pot of coffee to go with the corn.
Remove the pan from the oven, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges of the contents with a knife, and invert the pan onto a plate. There should be a beautiful, golden corn cake there, on the plate. Cut and share. If it falls to bits, follow procedure suggested above, no problemo. Consume, in that case, with a spoon.
Total cost to feed 4 people in high style, $3.09, not including the coffee and milk.
Batter fried peaches, rolled in cinnamon sugar. Well. Yikes.