Here in Upstate NY, this is really the best time of year for sweet corn.
Nothing really compares to that first early corn that we crave so much after a long winter without it, but for the absolute best stuff, August and early September are when you find varieties that have the most flavor. Later varieties usually have ears that stay tender and sweet, even as they get huge – those are perfect for getting in the freezer for wintertime soups and side dishes. Just blanch them for a couple minutes, cut off the kernels and pop them into freezer containers – easy and so good.
They are also perfect for gracing your dinner plate alongside a nice juicy burger, or maybe an assortment of other garden fresh veggies. These Fresh Corn Fritters will go pretty nicely next to either one as well.
Larry’s dad grew acres of sweet corn right here on the farm, and this time of year found them picking ears by the hundreds for local stores. We also saw a steady stream of U-pick customers dragging huge feed bags of corn in and out of the rows, as they took advantage of an inexpensive source for some of the best tasting corn anywhere on the planet.
If you have ever watched “Green Acres”, you’ll probably remember in the opening song the line “I get allergic smelling hay!”. That is me. I actually am a townie girl, married up to a country boy and brought here in the middle of nowhere to live. It’s not quite as dramatic a contrast as Lisa Douglas, who came from NYC, since I came from a very small town just 12 miles away. Still, it turns out I DO get allergic smelling hay, and I get allergic picking corn too, with my arms breaking out in horrid welts and my eyes swelling nearly shut. I can’t say I’m terribly upset about that, because picking a thousand ears of corn at a whack is back breaking, sweltering, bug-bite laden, awful hard work.
I have no problem at all cooking corn though, and even less eating it. These fritters are a riff on something I have made for years – a little jazzed up with some Tex-Mex type flair by adding masa, jalapenos and cilantro. Yum!
If you have a few ears of corn leftover after dinner, you can strip off the kernels and stash them in the fridge for making these fritters, or you can use fresh, raw corn, right off the cob, which is my favorite way to make them. The corn gets just barely cooked then, and retains all of it’s sweet flavor and crunchy texture.
How much jalapeno you use is dependent on how hot your jalapenos are, and how spicy you like things.
- 2 cups corn kernels [about 3 good sized ears]
- 1 - 2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and diced small
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
- 1 garlic clove grated on a microplane or smashed and minced finely
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon jalapeno hot sauce [or whatever hot sauce you like]
- ⅓ cup masa or fine cornmeal
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Guacamole, queso fresco cheese, more hot sauce
- Mix the corn, jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, egg, buttermilk and fresh jalapeno together in a medium sized bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, cumin and salt.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the corn mixture.
- To let the flavors really bloom, allow the batter to sit at room temperature for an hour or so. If you don't have time for that, you can make the fritters right way. I also taste the batter at this point to see if it needs more salt, or even more hot sauce.
- Use a cast iron skillet, or other heavy skillet of frying pan. Add olive oil [or whatever oil you prefer] to the pan until it is ¼ inch deep. Heat over a medium flame for a couple minutes.
- Use a serving sized spoon or medium cookie scoop to carefully put the fritters into the hot oil. Use the back of the spoon to spread the fritter out slightly. if it began to sizzle right away, go ahead and add more fritters to the pan, leaving a inch or so of space around each one. If it didn't start sizzling, wait a minute before putting the rest of the fritters in.
- Cook each fritter for about 2 minutes on each side, but keep an eye on them to make sure they don't get too dark.
- Be careful that stray kernels of corn don't end up in the oil - they will really spatter.
- Drain the cooked fritters on paper towels.
- Serve warm with the toppings of your choice.
- Store leftovers in the fridge.
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