by Joan Saunders | photos by Kathryn Alvarez Photograpy –
As we head into the end of summer, the sight of corn in the fields and on the table is a very welcome one indeed. Not only is corn so tasty on its own with just some butter, salt and pepper, but it’s also so adaptable. It’s a fabulous component in chowders, enchiladas, casseroles and savoury galettes. It adds an earthy sweetness to so many recipes and is an excellent and easy addition to a barbecue. Give me a hamburger and a hot, cooked, crisp cob of corn slathered in butter from one of our local growers, and I’m an incredibly happy woman.
Using farm-fresh corn in a fritter recipe adds a whole new dimension to a tried-and-true classic, but they’re not only for dinner. Corn fritters are very versatile and can be an extremely tasty option for breakfast with a fried egg and hot sauce. Or you can team up the fritters with a poached egg and some hollandaise, and you’ve got yourself a whole new riff on Eggs Benedict.
I’ve played around with this recipe a bit, as it’s a take on Mexican Street Corn. Sort of, anyway. Elotes, the amazing Mexican street food of corn on the cob which is charred on the grill then slathered in a spicy, creamy, chili, garlic and Cotija cheese sauce, is always a winner. Make it if you haven’t already and you’ll be hooked. Or try this version, which takes many of the components and pulls together the flavours in a fritter.
You can serve these as an appetizer, but they also make a great side dish to a variety of seafood entrées. Of course, the most obvious choice is to serve them with traditional Mexican recipes, but they are very adaptable. You could even double the recipe (as I often do) if you hope to have lots of leftovers. But, let me warn you, I doubt that you will, as they’ll disappear very quickly indeed.
Street Corn(ish) Fritters (makes about 12-14)
1 ½ cups of corn (about 2 ears, depending on the size)
2 scallions, sliced and chopped small
zest of one lime
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ tsp salt
½ cup flour, plus 1 more tbsp if necessary
canola oil for frying (or another neutral oil, like safflower)
chili powder (optional)
Shuck the corn and stand the first cob up in a bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the corn into the bowl. Then run the back of the knife up and down the cob to release as much of the corn “milk” as you can into the bowl. Do the same with the other cob. It’s OK if you get a bit more or less than 1 ½ cups of corn.
Add scallions, cilantro, feta, zest, salt and some black pepper. Stir the mix to evenly combine. Taste to see how the flavours work; I sometimes like to add a bit more salt or pepper (depending on how salty the feta is). Add eggs; use a fork or spoon to mix together until eggs are broken up and coat corn mixture fairly evenly. Add flour and stir to mix thoroughly. At this point, the mix should look like it’s mostly corn kernels with a bit of batter binding it together. A scoop of the mix should hold its shape; if it doesn’t hold together, add an extra tablespoon of flour.
Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once oil is hot and shimmering, add your first scoop of corn fritter batter (about two tablespoons) and press gently to flatten the scoop. The fritters will cook quite quickly, so watch them carefully. When the underside of the fritter is a dark golden brown, flip it and cook to the same deep golden colour on the other side. Drain on a paper towel. When it’s cool enough to try, taste it (you’ll want to anyway) and adjust seasonings as desired.
Cook rest of the batter in the same way; add a bit more oil if you need to.
Top with a small dollop of the mayo mixture, sprinkle with chili powder for a bit of spice. Can be reheated in oven.
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
juice of half a lime
Combine all of the above in a small bowl. Stir to mix well.