1 1/4- pounds piece smoked ham, such as Black Forest, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup fresh (from about 2 ears) or frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 pound Monterey jack, grated (about 1 cup)
How to Make It
Heat the oven to 350°. Butter an 8-by-12-inch baking dish or another shallow baking dish of about the same size. In a medium nonstick frying pan, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the ham, salt, and black pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, combine the corn and half-and-half in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add the eggs, sugar, and cayenne. Blend thoroughly.
Spoon the bell-pepper mixture into the prepared baking dish and then sprinkle the Monterey jack over the top. Pour the egg mixture over all. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pudding comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Variations:: · Omit the ham for a meatless version, or replace it with crumbled cooked chorizo for a spicier pudding.
Wine Recommendation: Look for a gentle and fruity merlot from Chile. These wines have the wonderful soft texture and ripe-berry flavors one expects from merlot, along with somewhat earthy undertones that will marry nicely with the corn.