One summer, many, many years ago, we were a little short on cash but long on fresh corn on the cob. My mom and I devised about as many ways as you could possibly imagine to make corn the center of the meal. Chowders, stews, salads, puddings, and, our favorite, fritters alternated throughout the summer. As you might have guessed after that summer, a couple of fresh ears of corn were about all I could manage come summer’s crop. But, as the years passed I have often gone back to retrieve some of the recipes we created and the other evening I saved the leftover ears to make fritters for breakfast. I like mine with a little dab of sour cream and Steve likes his wrapped around a couple of slices of turkey bacon (he’s currently on a weight watching regimen!), but lots of people like them with maple syrup. Here’s the recipe – fritters can be used as a breakfast or brunch treat or as a side dish for roasts, grills, or braises.
2 cups corn kernels
2 large eggs, separated
¾ cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
½ teaspoon minced hot chile or ¼ chopped onion, optional (you can also add a
good handful of chopped cooked bacon or ham)
1 cup cornmeal (I like the coarse ground kind)
½ cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Clarified butter, peanut oil, or nonstick vegetable spray for frying
Place the corn in a mixing bowl. Stir in the egg yolks, milk, and melted butter.
When blended, stir in the cornmeal and flour along with the optional chile or onion, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the egg whites in a small mixing bowl and, using a hand held electric mixer, beat until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.
Place a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add whatever fat you are using. When hot, ladle in just enough batter to make 4 cakes about 2- to 2½-inches in diameter (or whatever number your skillet/griddle can easily fit). Cook for about 4 minutes or until golden and beginning to set. Turn and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and cooked through. (Some cooks like to put a fair amount of fat into the pan, particularly butter or bacon fat so that the cakes absorb quite a bit of it – I don’t really like this idea as you have more taste of the fat and less of the corn.)
Remove from the skillet and serve hot.