Saturday, October 10, 2009

Recipe: Sweet Corn Cakes/Fritters

Sweet Corn cakes (or "fritters" as they are more commonly known outside of New England) taught me a valuable lesson about people and cooking. You can go out of your way and create an entire dinner, all the food can be great but one small thing can become a standout. Such was the dinner on the front porch of my old apartment one summer evening. I prepared all manner of Mexican specialties for my guests including smoky refried black beans, chicken fajitas, homemade salsa, etc. It was a basket of warm corn cakes drizzled with honey, prepared as an afterthought that was the hit of the party though.

Cakes/fritters are popular all over the United States, from the New England clam cake to the hush puppies of our Southern states. They are served as additions to other meals or popular stand alone snacks. They're not difficult to make and prepared mixes abound, but what's Zen about dumping a box of ingredients bolstered with chemical preservatives, compared to working with a nice recipe of wholesome ingredients? NOTHING!

I'll offer you a little advice in the way of quantity. Correctly made these things disappear faster than your cheap friends when it's round buying time at the bar, so make more than you think you'll need. I serve them drizzled with mesquite honey, but any flavor will probably do. They are also very good served as a side for chili or corn chowder.

Corn Cakes/Fritters are really versatile and you can steer them between savory or sweet as you like. You'll notice below that I keep the sugar kind of low. That's because this recipe should get most of its sweetness from good sweet corn. Also, you may be drizzling honey over them before serving them which will add additional sweetness. Another variation of this recipe that I prepare includes diced red bell pepper. To prepare that use 1-1/2 cups of sweet corn and 1/2 cup of diced red bell pepper instead of the 2 cups of sweet corn below.

Sweet Corn Cakes/Fritters

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white sugar
2 cups whole kernel sweet corn
1 egg lightly beaten
1 TBS peanut oil
1/2 cup milk
3 cups vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

Stir the sweet corn kernels into this dry mixture.

In another mixing bowl beat the egg, peanut oil and milk together.

Pour the wet and dry mixtures together, stir until just blended.

Heat the 3 cups of oil in a heavy pot to 350°F.

Drop tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil and cook, turning occasionally until golden brown.

Drain on paper towels and serve warm, brushed with butter, drizzled with honey or sprinkled with salt.

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