Posts Tagged ‘Corn Fritters’

Alice’s Corn Fritters

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

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During this golden season it can be REALLY hard to visit a farm stand and purchase just one ear of corn. I always end up buying at least two ears of this tempting vegetable—and sometimes four, six, or even 12! Consequently, the Tinky fridge usually features leftover corn in late August.

I have made much more complicated fritters in the past; in fact, I posted a fancier recipe here on this blog a few years back. When I was getting ready to cook on TV last week, however, I wanted something simple.

Luckily, my neighbor (and occasional musical collaborator) Alice Parker offered me the perfect recipe. It concentrates on two main flavors—the corn and BUTTER. You do have to be careful to keep the butter from melting, but your vigilance pays off.

The fritters disappeared fast on Mass Appeal, where I wore a yellow hat to pay tribute to the main ingredient and also to my late mother. (The hat belonged to her.) I wish I had a photo of her wearing it—but at least I have a photo of Alice! Here she is (on the left) getting ready to play the piano at our most recent concert, “Love Walked In.”

Alice and Estherweb

The Fritters

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more if you like!)
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
2 cups kernels from barely cooked corn
butter as needed for frying (up to 1/2 stick—perhaps even a little more)

Instructions:

Separate the eggs. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks until they turn a paler yellow. Whisk in the baking powder, the salt, and the pepper. Using a wooden spoon stir in the flour, followed by the corn. Gently fold in the egg whites.

Warm a frying pan or griddle, and melt the butter. When it is nice and hot use a cookie scoop or spoon to form the corn mixture into little clumps, and fry them on both sides until brown, turning once. The mixture will be free form but delicious. Serve the fritters immediately by themselves, with sour cream and dill (my friend Betsy’s idea!), or with maple syrup. Serves 4.

And now the video. Note how fluffy the fritters become!

I’m as Corny as Massachusetts in August….

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

 
The Augusts of my childhood in Hawley, Massachusetts, were golden, both literally and figuratively.
 
The landscape was filled with the bright yellow of sunflowers and the duller yellow of hay. The sun seemed to shine every day as we swam and swam and swam.
 
And corn was consumed every single evening—just before all the neighborhood children rushed from the dinner table to engage in a spirited game of Kick the Can.
 
I loved corn then. I still do. The act of eating it takes a certain amount of deliberation. With its lovely long rows of kernels, this vegetable stretches on like a perfect summer day or evening.
 
The freshest corn (and of course we ate and eat only the freshest) is sweet and not starchy, purchased the day of its picking at the farm on which it grew.
 
Most of the time I still serve corn as I my mother did when I was young. I quickly boil or grill it and add butter, salt, and pepper.  

I’m a lot less lavish with the butter than I was as a child, of course; in fact, sometimes I omit it altogether.

 
Once in a while I feel the urge to get go beyond straight corn, particularly with leftover kernels.
 
My mother’s favorite use for leftover corn is in succotash. She loves to combine it with cranberry beans (those whitish beans with pink stripes that appear in farm stands and stores only at this time of year). As soon as I find some cranberry beans, I’ll post her recipe.
 
Meanwhile, here is one of my current favorite ways to use leftover corn kernels. It combines the corn with another iconic August food, the tomato.
 
However I eat it, the texture and flavor of corn always take me back to those August days and nights of my childhood when time stood still, children played and laughed, and the landscape glimmered with yellow.
 
This post is my own contribution to the Loving Local Blogathon, taking place from August 22 to 28 as part of Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week.
 
Hosted by this very blog with help from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Mass Farmers Markets, the Blogathon celebrates the flavors of the Bay State and raises awareness of the bounty all around us. 

It also raises funds for Mass Farmers Markets, a charitable nonprofit organization that helps farmers markets throughout Massachusetts. Please support this worthy cause if you can; here’s the donation link.

 
Loving Local Corn Fritters with Salsa Fresca
 
for the Salsa:
 
Ingredients:
 
3 medium farm-fresh tomatoes or 5 plum tomatoes
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped (white part plus some green)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
the juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt
 
Instructions:
 
Core and chop the tomatoes. Using a slotted spoon, move them into a medium bowl. Discard the remaining juice or use it in soup. 

To the bowl add the peppers, onion, garlic, and cilantro. Stir in the lime juice and salt. Allow the salsa to sit at least 1/2 hour so the flavors can meld.

 
for the Fritters:
 
Ingredients:
 
1/2 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (if you want plain traditional fritters, omit this, but I like the hint of spice)
1/2 cup (generous) grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 egg
chopped parsley and/or cilantro as desired
2 cups leftover corn kernels
peanut, canola, or even olive oil as needed for frying
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
 
In a bowl thoroughly combine the flour, the baking powder, the salt, the pepper, the cumin, and the cheese.
 
Whisk together the milk, the oil, and the egg. Add the herbs if you are using them. Stir this liquid into the flour mixture. (A few lumps are just fine.) Stir in the corn.
 
Pour oil into a frying pan until it just about covers the bottom of a frying pan when you swirl it around to distribute it. Heat the oil until it is about 350 degrees. (It will shimmer!)
 
Pop spoonsful of batter into the hot oil.
 
Cook the batter quickly, turning as needed, until it is golden brown. Do not crowd the fritters in the pan! They will be idiosyncratic but lovely. Add a little more oil if you really must for frying.
 
When individual fritters are ready drain them on paper towels and store them in the warm oven until all the fritters have been cooked.
 
for Serving:
 
Ingredients:
 
fritters (see above)
salsa (see above)
sour cream or crème fraîche to taste
 
Instructions:
 
Top each fritter with a spoonful of salsa and a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche. 

Serves 4 to 6.


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Sugaring Off at South Face Farm

Friday, March 20th, 2009

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March is Massachusetts Maple Month according to the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association. This organization of professional and amateur maple farmers is headed by Tom McCrumm of Ashfield. I figured I couldn’t visit a more appropriate farm than his to kick off my maple recipes this month so I headed recently to South Face Farm.

 

The sugarhouse at South Face Farm looks exactly as a sugarshack should. It sits on a quiet road, not far from Route 116 in Ashfield. Its low ceiling provides eaters with a sense of intimacy, and its décor is old fashioned. Old food tins and antique cooking implements line the walls. Large windows (many of them sporting a jug of amber syrup) look out on the farm Tom and his wife Judy Haupt steward.

 

The sugarhouse restaurant is open only about 12 days a year, on weekends during maple season. Nevertheless, Tom told me, those 12 days are vital to his sugaring enterprise. “The only way you can make a living in this business is to have a roadside sugarhouse and sell,” he told me, characterizing what he does as “agriculture as entertainment.”

 

“You’ve got to cut out the middle man. You’ve got to produce a good-quality product and sell it directly to the customer.”

 

Tom invited me into the kitchen to watch Skylar Abbatiello of Ashfield make one of the sugarhouse’s signature foods, corn fritters. Skylar is a lanky, genial high-school student who is in his fourth year at the sugarhouse but his first year of cooking. He sounded proud of having worked his way up through the ranks at South Face Farm. Tom told me that this pattern is common among the restaurant’s staff members, who are both local and loyal.

 

The kitchen definitely had a family atmosphere. Skylar was confidently and carefully supervised by the sugarhouse’s head cook (and kitchen designer), Bonnie, an Ashfield resident who preferred not to supply her last name. Bonnie explained that she and Tom McCrumm had developed the sugarhouse recipes to emphasize scratch cooking and local ingredients. The blueberries, eggs, milk, and ice cream served at the restaurant are all local—not to mention the maple syrup!

 

I asked Tom McCrumm about the ice storm in December, which damaged a lot of New England sugar maples. He informed me that his losses were moderately bad. “I lost ten to 15 percent of my taps,” he noted. “I put in a lot of time and labor for cleanup and replacing pipeline. It was a big expense.”

 

Nevertheless, he added, he perseveres. “I did what farmers have done for centuries. You put your head down and plow ahead and hope that next year is going to be better.”

 

Skylar with his Fritters

Skylar with his Fritters

South Face Farm Corn Fritters
 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup flour

3/4 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

3/4 cup corn—fresh, canned, or frozen (if using frozen, thaw and drain; if canned, just drain)

oil as needed for frying

lots of South Face Farm maple syrup

 

Instructions:

 

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. In a separate bowl, beat together the milk and egg. Stir in the corn; then stir in the dry ingredients. The batter will be stiff.

 

Preheat the oil in a deep-fat fryer (or preheat a frying pan with at least a couple of inches of oil) to 350 degrees. Using a small scoop or a spoon, gently place quarter-cup blobs of batter in the oil. Do not overfill your pan; if it is too full the oil will cool off. Do not make larger fritters, or they will not cook through and will be doughy in the center.

 

Cook the fritters in the oil for 6 minutes, gently shaking them from time to time. Carefull remove and drain them. Drizzle maple syrup over the fritters. Makes about 10 fritters.

 

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