This classic New England dish captures the essence of sweet corn. Marion uses the ripest corn from her family's Lazy Acres Farm in Hadley, Massachusetts.
6 or more ears of very ripe, juicy corn
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Remove the husks and silk from the ears of corn. Holding the corn vertically, slice down one of the long rows of kernels with the point of a small sharp knife, slitting open each kernel right through the middle.
Slice open all kernels in this way, rotating the corn as you cut.
Hold the ear over a large mixing bowl and scrape down the cut rows with the edge of a sturdy kitchen spoon, squeezing out the tender heart and juices from the kernels. Slit and scrape enough ears to get 3 cups of essence.
Put the scraped corn into a saucepan and stir in milk or half-and-half, butter, salt, and pepper. Set over medium heat. Bring corn to a boil, stirring constantly; then lower the heat and cook at a gentle simmer 6 to 10 minutes, stirring often. When the corn is well cooked and thickened to a pleasing consistency, taste to adjust seasonings, then serve.