Monday, September 12, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Fresh Corn Fritters

Many members of my family hail from upstate New York, where cheap fresh corn is readily available for most of the year.  There is actually a rather competitive bragging streak about being able to find the lowest price at so-and-so's farm stand, which I usually just sit and listen to and seethe with envy.  So when I do finally see bargain-priced end of season corn in my local, I jump on it without any hesitation or cooking plan in mind. 

Yes, plain boiled ears are delicious and totally underrated as a vegetable, but I've been eating them to the point of overdose lately and there's something about that sweet, uncooked corn flavor that I love even more than the chargrilled version topped with cheese and mayo.  These fritters are a great side to serve with other late summer treats like fresh tomatoes and grilled zucchini, the availability of which I fear is quickly coming to an end.

I've streamlined the original recipes quite significantly (whipping egg whites? no thank you sir!), reduced the salt, and increased the spice here, so I think this is the easiest and tastiest version.  They're also best eaten right away to maintain the crisp texture (otherwise they get a bit spongy), so store some of the batter for a day or two in the fridge if it looks like you'll have leftovers. 

One day I'll turn the oven on again, but until then, I'm more than happy to survive on tomato sandwiches, caprese and kale salads, and these. And I'm always seeking more summer veg recipe ideas, so do send them my way!

Fresh Corn Fritters
Adapted from Alexandra Cooks (originally from WSJ)

Serves 4 (about 16 fritters)
Total time: 30 minutes (all active)

  • 1/2 cup fine-ground cornmeal or quick-cooking polenta (I subbed medium-ground cornmeal which worked fine)
  • 2 fresh ears of corn, kernels removed and separated
  • 1/4 of a large onion, minced
  • 1 small jalapeño, minced (leave out the seeds if you don't like it spicy)
  • 1/2 rounded teaspoon of cumin seeds, smashed with the back of a knife (or mortar and pestle for the fancy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (greek, lowfat, or regular)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • 2 eggs
  • Optional for serving:  cilantro, sliced tomato, extra plain yogurt

Mix cornmeal/polenta, corn kernels, onion, jalapeño, cumin, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Add yogurt, olive oil, and eggs and stir until blended.

Set a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Once hot, add 1-2 heaping spoonfuls of batter to the pan for each fritter and spread into small circles (I did about 4 batches of 4 at a time).  Cook for 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip when the top looks somewhat dry and cook for another 1-2 minutes until both sides are golden.*  Remove fritters to a plate lined with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Repeat until all batter is used up (adjusting the seasoning if necessary), or refrigerate remaining batter for up to a few days.

Serve with cilantro, sliced tomato, and additional plain yogurt.

*A cautionary note: try to get all the rogue corn kernels out of the pan in between fritter batches as they have a tendency to spit and pop with each splash of oil you add!


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