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Southwestern Corn and Pepper Gratin
    Serves 4 to 6
    The sweetness of corn contrasts beautifully here with the spice of fresh chiles and cumin. This gratin tastes luxuriously rich due to the custard mixture of pureed corn, milk and eggs. It's as beautiful to look at as it is delicious.
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
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1 medium-size white onion, chopped
1 medium-size green pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup diced)
1 medium-size red pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup diced)
  salt to taste
2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño, seeded for a milder gratin, and finely chopped
1 teaspoon cuminseed, crushed in a mortar and pestle
  kernels from 4 ears of corn (about 3 to 4 cups, depending on the size of the ears)
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  freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 ounces Monterey jack or mild white cheddar cheese, grated (1/3 cup grated)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup skim milk

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Separate 3/4 cup of corn kernels from the remaining kernels. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish.

2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until tender, and add the red and green peppers and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, and add the minced chiles, all but the 3/4 cup corn kernels you set aside, and the cumin. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the grated cheese. Transfer to the baking dish.

3. In a blender or food processor fitted with the steel blade, blend together the milk, eggs, the 3/4 cup of corn kernels that you set aside, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt, until fairly smooth.

4. Pour the milk mixture over the corn and pepper mixture in the baking dish. Give the mixture a stir. Place in the oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until set and firm and golden brown. Serve hot or warm.

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