AAccording to Southern Living magazine (which, after all, you should know), “Nothing puts a smile on a southerner’s face like deliciously crisp golden corn fritters fresh from the fryer.” And they’re not alone: I suspect that sunny yellow beans elicit the same reaction as Thais’ teasing. tod man khao pod or Colombians getting into a plate of scolding; They certainly never fail to please my greedy heart.
Sweetcorn is one of those vegetables, like peas, in which the sugars begin to turn into starch the moment it’s picked, meaning it’s worth eating as much as possible during its short British season: grilled cob, creamy on toast, and today’s delicious fritters. That said, they’re also pretty well made with the canned variety.
In the UK, at least, fresh corn is something to be seized upon when it first appears in late summer, and enjoyed only for the duration of the season (imported corn is often dry and more starchy than sweet). Fortunately, it’s also perfectly possible to make very decent fritters from the canned stuff, though the texture, in my opinion, is less satisfying, because the grains are so much softer. North Carolina-born food writer James Villas and Tennessee-born Rufus Estes, one of the first African-Americans to publish a cookbook, Good Things to Eat, in the early 20th century, are the only ones who recommend cooking the corn before I use, and, although it is not mandatory, I think it is a good idea; it seems to make the corn juicier, somehow. (Canned corn is already cooked, so if you’re using it, skip this step.)
Most recipes mix whole grains into a batter, but chef Anne Rosenzweig, formerly of New York’s much-loved Arcadia institution in the 1980s, purees them, giving her blini fritters a wonderful sweetness and creaminess that not even Villas, whose recipe in The Glory of Southern Cooking calls for half and half (a 50:50 blend of cream and milk that has a fat content approximating what we in the UK call plain cream) can equalize. She tastes even better when, as in Cook’s Illustrated, that puree is first browned in a pan, which “removed excess moisture and deepened the flavor even more.” However, I love the texture of whole grains, particularly when used in bulk, like in the Villas version, where the grains are barely held together by the dough, so I’ll use both here.
Whatever you do with those kernels, you need to bind them with something or you’ll end up with crispy fried corn which, while very delicious, isn’t something you need my help creating. Most of the recipes I try involve a dough with wheat flour, often with a leavening agent as well, but this seems a shame when cornmeal is so readily available. Gluten-free, however, you’ll have a hard time keeping the cakes together in the pan, so like Rosenzweig, I’m going to combine the two. She uses equal amounts of each, while I, like the late great chef Edna Lewis and her collaborator on The Gift of Southern Cooking, Scott Peacock, will use as little wheat flour as I can without making the fritters difficult to cook. do. solve. However, unlike Lewis and Peacock, I will not add any leavening agents for the simple reason that I find the unleavened versions of Villas and Rosenzweig so crisp and delicious that they feel unnecessary. Another top tip from Cook’s Illustrated: a little cornmeal makes for a crispier texture. It turns out that “its microscopic starch granules hydrate and swell into strands in the dough and then swell even more when the dough hits the hot oil. As moisture evaporates during frying, the swollen starch granules lock in place, forming a brittle network with many holes. The result? Lacier, crispier fritters. Sold out.
Everyone uses eggs: an extra yolk in Rosenzweig’s restaurant’s rich recipe, beaten egg whites for extra punch in chef Brad McDonald’s version in his book Deep South: New Southern Cooking, and also at Lewis and Peacock’s, I’ll stick with mine though. simpler. I do love the taste of their buttermilk though, which tastes more interesting than the usual milk, or water in Bill Granger’s case, or even Villa’s rather decadent cream. But if you can’t get any, use diluted plain yogurt, plain kefir, or just plain milk.
With good fresh corn, you really don’t need much else except a pinch of salt to bring out its sweetness, but if you’re serving it as a main course, rather than a side dish, you might want to brown the lily. . Options I try include, from the onion family, chives (Rosenzweig), shredded onions (Lewis and Peacock) and, my favorite for their fresh flavor, Granger’s chives. I also try green bell pepper (Villas), and fresh cilantro (Granger), but honestly, if it’s going with corn and it’s not too moist (seedless tomatoes, squeeze grated zucchini, for example), you can double it here, either chopped ham or crumbled feta cheese. I’ve gone for a mild green chili. You can also add dry spices, like Granger does: he opts for ground coriander, cumin, and paprika, but the fritter is his oyster (although I’m not sure how some of those would work as an ingredient here, to be honest).
Lewis and Peacock’s recipe, as well as Southern Living’s, which credits a reader named Lynne Weeks from Georgia, are for fried corn cakes and are more like what I would consider a quiet dog, although Lewis and Peacock, who are very much the experts here, make the distinction that Strictly Hush puppies contain no whipped egg whites. (Sam and Shauna, former members of the award-winning Hang Fire Southern Kitchen and authors of a book of the same name, explain that Shush Puppies tend to be smaller and denser, and don’t contain fresh corn, though McDonald’s does, so it’s clearly is not a strict rule).
Either way, as much as I enjoy both their plump, sugar-and-salt flavored Southern Living cupcakes, I prefer the fresher, corn-heavy, deep-fried varieties, because the caramelization that occurs when the sweet corn comes in contact with a hot pan is a magic that is not easily sacrificed. (If you’re looking for something fried, let me point you in the direction of Lewis and Peacock’s recipe.)
Serve with creme fraiche and caviar if it’s Rosenzweig, with refried beans and avocado salad if it’s Granger, or with fried chicken and kidney beans and rice if you’re leaning toward the Southern Living persuasion. Basically, corn fritters go with most things, including a cold beer.
Perfect corn fritters
Homework 20 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Does Around 10, and easily doubled
2 ears of cornto obtain 250g of grains (or 250g corn, canned and drained)
5 tablespoons fine or medium cornmeal
1 tablespoon of flour
1 tablespoon of cornmeal
100ml of buttermilk
4 spring onionscut and sliced thin
1 mild green chillifinely chopped, or a pinch of chili flakes (optional)
neutral oilto fry
If you’re using fresh corn on the cob, remove the husks, if necessary, drop the cobs into a saucepan of boiling, lightly salted water for a minute, then drain.
Put the cornmeal, flour, cornmeal, and a good pinch of salt in a large bowl and mix to combine.
Beat the eggs and buttermilk, then stir them into the dry ingredients.
Place each blunt end of the blanched corn cob on a cutting board and run a knife lengthwise to remove the kernels.
Blend 50g of them (or canned grains) into a puree with a stick or mini blender.
Heat a splash of oil in a small frying pan over medium heat, toast the puree, stirring, until thickened and slightly browned…
…then add to the batter with the remaining whole grains and the onion and chili, if using.
Stir until all the vegetables are covered with batter, then put enough oil in a pan to just cover the base.
Put over medium-high heat and once it’s hot enough for a piece of corn to sizzle, drop round tablespoons of the mixture into the pan and mash very lightly.
Be sure to leave enough space between them so you can easily flip them over; you will probably need to cook them in two or more batches.
Lower the heat a bit and fry until golden brown on the bottom and starting to dry out on the top, then very carefully flip and cook on the other side.
Drain on a rack or kitchen paper and serve hot.
Corn Fritters: Are They The Best Since Corn On The Cob, Where Does Your Favorite Version Come From And How Do You Serve It?