M: Sometime around mid-June, a change comes over the farmers market. In place of some booths, you’ll see pickup trucks backed up in their place, loaded to capacity with fresh from the field corn. Five for three, twelve for five… each truck with hand written signs on poster board, often with prices X’ed out and re-written several times as they compete with the next truck over to empty that bed. Farm kids climb the mini mountains of corn, filling bags and passing them down to mom or dad as fast as they can sell them. And I am buying. This time of year, its all tomatoes, watermelon, and that sumptuous Silver Queen corn at my house. And if you are going to try to improve on straight up corn on the cob, a fritter is a darn good place to start.
Every year there is a new fervor over deep fried *something* at the State Fair. Long ago we were content with corn dogs or funnel cakes, but a few years ago something happened. Somebody deep fried a candy bar. Then oreos. Now ice cream, hamburgers, pickles, twinkies… If you can think it, somebody is going to deep fry it. This year it looks like deep fried Kool-Aid is the hot new fairground trend. I’m here to tell you, it may lack the carnival midway dazzle of deep fried cotton candy, but you will be hard pressed to top the old fashioned corn fritter for deep fried goodness. Easy to make, goes with just about anything and, you know, full of freshly shucked corn. I suppose if you wanted to fit in with your carnival buddies you could deep fry it with the corn still on the cob or something, but I’m staying out of that.
K:I’m going to have to make a confession here, so you’ll want to sit down.
I used frozen corn.
There. I said it, and I’m proud of it. I used frozen corn for two very good reasons. First, we are still WEEKS from fresh corn here, and second, I firmly believe that fried corn should not have to wait until summer. I believe not only that a high-quality frozen corn is a fine sub for fritters, but also that I should be able to have them whenever I want them. Whenever I want them, I said, and you can’t stop me. In order to boost the corn “omph” and compensate for not shaving them directly off the cob, I used an extra 1/4 C of corn kernels and pureed them with the buttermilk with my little hand blender before adding the eggs.
I would have loved to have given you a great, plated-up, finished shot, with sauces and pretty plates and such, but they never made it off the cooling rack. Well, they did, but only as they went directly into our mouths. I still have a raw, burned spot on the roof of my mouth to attest to our impatience. Ooops.
Recipe: Fresh Corn Fritters
Summary: Deep.Fried.Corn. I’m not sure what else you need to know. Except maybe that I’m betting this batter would kick butt made with beer. Adapted from The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 c Buttermilk (Regular milk works just fine, too, but we prefer the buttermilk)
- Kernels from 2 Ears of Corn (about 1c – K: add 1/4 C if you are using frozen, and puree with the buttermilk before adding the eggs.)
- 2 T Cornmeal
- 1/4 c Flour
- 2 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Sugar
- Pinch Salt
- Vegetable Oil
- Whisk eggs and milk together in a large bowl – (K: see note above about adding a touch of extra corn if using frozen).
- Stir in Corn.
- Sift all dry ingredients together and stir into egg mix.
- Pour vegetable oil into a cast iron skillet to about 1/2″ depth and heat to around 350 degrees.
- Drop spoonfuls of batter into oil, leaving plenty of space between them (if the first one doesn’t sizzle when it hits the oil, allow the oil to get a little hotter before continuing).
- When edges begin to brown (just a minute or two), flip fritters.
- After about two minutes, remove fritters and place on a paper towel to wick away excess oil. (K: I’m a student of the Alton Brown school of frying. I do not drain on paper towels where the food then sits on a bed of oil. I believe in draining on a rack set OVER a bed of paper towels to soak up the oil, but you do what makes you feel good. )
- Serve hot, either alone, or with a dipping sauce of your choice. ( K: My personal preference is a nice lime-chipotle aioli, but the boys in my house will mutiny if you suggest anything other than maple syrup.)