Summer Food: Recipes for a summer supper
Corn fritters are a summer tradition along the American eastern coast, dating back to the early settlers who arrived from Europe. Corn was a staple grown locally by the Native Americans and corn fritters evolved as a light and crunchy fare for breakfast, lunch or supper.
I have included two recipes. A traditional American corn fritter and a Thai corn fritter for those with an adventurous palate!
Traditional Corn Fritters: makes 6-8 fritters
- 2 ears fresh sweet corn
- 2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1/4 cup milk, buttermilk, or Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon corn meal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup grated cheese; jack or mild cheddar (optional)
- clarified butter for frying
The advantage of using clarified butter is it will not burn at higher temperatures and produces clean frying without debris. To clarify butter, heat unsalted butter over low heat and bring to a low simmer for about 15 minutes, skimming off the foam and solids that float to the top until the surface is clear. The solids will settle under the butterfat. Cool for five minutes. Place a strainer over a glass storage jar and line it with cheese cloth. Pour the clarified butter through the strainer, leaving the solids from the butter in the bottom of the cooking pan. Cool and place the lid on the jar and refrigerate. Clarified butter will keep for at least six months in the refrigerator.
Cut whole kernels of corn off one ear of corn and place in a mixing bowl. Grate the kernels of the remaining ear of corn into the bowl, scarping both cobs with the back of a knife to extract the corn “milk” from the cobs. Whisk the egg yolks and milk until well combined. While stirring the egg milk mixture add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, pepper, and sugar, and stir until just combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks and gently fold them into the corn fritter batter.
Melt some clarified butter in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. When the butter begins to bubble add heaping tablespoons of batter into the pan allowing enough space between each fritter as they will spread as they cook. Cook for several minutes until they are lightly browned, adjusting the heat if they are browning too quickly, and flip them with a spatula and cook another couple of minutes until nicely browned. Remove from the pan and place on paper towels to remove excess fat and serve.
Served here with Greek style yogurt with chives, but equally delicious drizzle with honey, a tart berry coulis, or a fresh salsa if you have included cheese in the fritters!
Thai Corn Fritters: makes 8-10 2 inch fritters
- 2 ears fresh sweet corn
- 2-3 small hot green chilies, minced including seeds
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam Pla)
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup rice flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons chopped sweet basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon kaffir lime zest or 2 minced kaffir lime leaves
- vegetable oil for frying
Cut whole kernels of corn off one ear of corn and place in a mixing bowl. Grate the kernels of the remaining ear of corn into the bowl, scraping both cobs with the back of a knife to extract the corn “milk” from the cob. Whisk the green chilies, fish sauce, and egg in a separate bowl until well combined and add to the corn. While stirring add the rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Once combined add the basil leaves, kaffir zest (or leaves) and stir in. The batter should be quite thin.
Add vegetable oil to a depth of about 1/4 inch to a nonstick pan over medium heat and when hot, briskly stir and add a small spoonful of batter to the pan for a test run. The batter should spread quickly into at a thin lacy fritter. If it seems a bit thick add a small amount of water and stir well, before proceeding with fry the fritters, adding a heaping tablespoon of batter to the pan and letting the batter spread before adding batter for another fritter. Be sure to briskly stir the batter just before scooping up a portion for frying. You can fry several fritters at a time, but without overcrowding. Fry until the fritters are a light golden brown and then flip them and continue to fry until golden on the other side. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to remove excess oil. Continue frying in batches until all the fritters are cooked.
Serve with Thai avocado sauce (posted in bites & starters) or a sweet Thai dipping sauce.