Textures of corn

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Peruvian chef Robert Ortiz shares a sensational gourmet corn recipe. "Textures of corn was inspired by the many varieties [36] of corn in Peru, most of which are sourced from the Andes," Ortiz explains. "They can add spice, crunch, sweetness, colour, bitterness and acidity to a variety of dishes, and it's their diversity that makes them such an amazing ingredient to work with."

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Sweetcorn parfait

Purple corn crumbs

  • 1/2 ear of purple corn, whole, broken into pieces
  • 250ml of water
  • 7.5g of salt
  • 68g of biscuit crumbs

Purple corn crisps

  • 100g of purple corn flour
  • 3g of icing sugar
  • 3g of salt
  • 30g of butter, softened
  • 10g of corn, crushed and fried (optional)

Peanut pesto for corn


To serve

  • 10g of white Incan corn, cooked kernels


  • Food processor or blender
  • Fine strainer


Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 5
Begin by preparing the parfait. Place a saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, sweat the onions and garlic until soft but not coloured. Add the cooked sweetcorn, stir through, then add the salt and sugar. While stirring, continue to cook until the ingredients start to brown and caramelise
Add the milk, gently simmer and reduce by half, then repeat with the cream. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Use a high-powered stick blender to mix in the flour and egg yolks - it should resemble a thick custard. If the mixture is too thick, add a touch more cream to achieve the right consistency
  • 120ml of milk
  • 36ml of double cream
  • 9g of flour
  • 35g of egg yolk
Line a small baking tray with silicon paper, add the parfait mix and spread out evenly. Cover tightly with a lid (or foil lid) and place in the oven for 50 minutes. Remove, allow to cool and refrigerate until set. Once set, cut into bite-sized rectangles and set aside until required
For the purple corn reduction (for the purple corn crumbs), add the water, corn and salt to a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a medium heat and cook for approximately 40 minutes, adding extra water if necessary to help extract the colour. Pass the contents of the pan through a fine strainer, return to the heat and simmer until reduced to a syrup-like consistency. Set aside until required
  • 1/2 ear of purple corn, whole, broken into pieces
  • 250ml of water
  • 7.5g of salt
Preheat the oven to 100°C
For the purple corn crumbs, combine the crushed biscuits with the purple corn reduction, breaking up any large crumbs to ensure a consistent finish. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, remove and allow to cool
  • 68g of biscuit crumbs
Preheat the oven to 120°C/gas mark 1.5
For the purple corn crisps, mix the sugar, salt and butter until pale. Add the flour, mix well to combine and leave in the fridge to rest for at least 30-45 minutes
  • 3g of icing sugar
  • 3g of salt
  • 100g of purple corn flour
  • 30g of butter, softened
Remove from the fridge and spread the mix thinly between 2 sheets of baking paper, using a rolling pin to spread out evenly. Remove the top layer of paper, sprinkle with the crunchy corn (optional) and bake for 6 minutes until crispy. Remove from the oven, allow to cool and break into small pieces. Store in an airtight container until required
  • 10g of corn, crushed and fried (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
For the peanut pesto, roast the nuts for 12 minutes and crush with olive oil in a food processor or using a pestle and mortar. Blanch the parsley for 40 seconds then chill in iced water. Squeeze out as much water as possible and dry on an absorbent cloth
Bring the vinegar to the boil, reduce by half and allow to cool. Combine with all of the other ingredients in a blender and blitz to form a paste. Season to taste and set aside
For the Chalaquita, combine the corn, onion, pepper and parsley in a bowl and mix well. Stir in the olive oil, lime juice and aji chilli paste, mix well and season with salt to taste
To finish the dish, use a dash of oil to grill the portions of corn parfait in a hot, flat grill plate to caramelise and blacken the outside of each rectangle
Serve up the parfaits onto plates and spoon on some pesto and Chalaquita, followed by the crisps and purple corn powder. Garnish with the white Incan corn kernels and serve immediately
  • 10g of white Incan corn, cooked kernels

Robert Ortiz is a pioneer of Peruvian cuisine, bringing the heady flavours and bright colours of his native country to an appreciative European audience.

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