Fresh Corn Spoon Bread with Broccoli and Sharp Cheddar

I have always loved Southern spoon bread—that creamy, airy cross between cornbread and a soufflé. I have added sharp Cheddar cheese and broccoli so that it becomes a substantial breakfast for dinner. One cup of any cooked vegetable would work here—cauliflower, peas, carrots, green beans, spinach, and so on—and three ounces of any good melting cheese would be fine too.

Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total preparation time: 40 minutes

2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears corn)
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, optional
6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups small broccoli florets, blanched in boiling salted water for 3 minutes and drained

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Generously grease a shallow 2 1/2 quart baking dish.

Combine the milk, corn, cornmeal, butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and the cayenne, if using, in a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, and let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks and stir in the broccoli.

Beat the egg whites with 1/8 teaspoon salt with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Stir one-fourth of the whites into the cornmeal mixture and then fold in the remaining whites gently, until they are just incorporated. Spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish and bake in the center of the oven until it is puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

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