This is the time of year that corn on the cob starts coming in from California. While we dread the idea of the amount of fertilizer and pesticides used on cornfields, it is really hard to resist the pull of fresh corn. So, we buy it from time to time, generally when it’s being sold at some ridiculous loss-leader price like 6 ears for a dollar. When it’s that cheap, we don’t even bother looking through the corn to avoid a bad ear; our time is worth more than 16 cents. Yes, we sometimes get a bad ear or two, bu, with this recipe, you can turn those less-than-pristine ears into a crispy, tasty treat.
The other day, we were thumbing through our copy of The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, and found this tasty-sounding recipe. We modified it ever so slightly with the addition of a pinch of cream of tartar to make it a bit easier to whip the egg white, but, other than that, it’s the same as you’ll find in Joy.
Serves 2 for lunch
- 4 ears fresh corn (about 2 1/2 cups cut kernels)
- 1 egg, separated
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Pinch cream of tartar
Free range eggs are the way to go, and, while we would prefer to use naturally-grown corn, even we sometimes fall off the wagon.
Cut kernels. Hold the ear of corn upright and slice off the kernels. We find that a small, finely serrated knife works wonders. We picked ours up in New Zealand, but you might be able to find one a bit closer to home — unless you’re in New Zealand, of course.
Separate egg. Separate the egg and place the white in a 2-quart bowl. Put the yolk in a small bowl.
Whip egg white. Add the pinch of cream of tartar to the egg white and whisk until you have firm but not dry peaks. Yes, you could do this in a mixer, but one egg white? Come on, just whisk like crazy and get an arm workout. It’ll take about 5 minutes.
Make corn batter. Sprinkle the salt onto the corn. Stir. Briefly beat the egg yolk and add to the corn and stir. Okay, it’s not really a batter, more like yolk-covered corn kernels.
Fold into whites. Fold the kernels into the egg whites. Yep, it’s a bit tricky, but you’ll do it. And, if you’re wondering why you’re going through all the trouble of separating the egg, whipping the whites, and folding in the corn, it’s because if you don’t you have scrambled egg with corn. Doesn’t sound as good, does it?
Fry. Drop corn fritter batter, about two tablespoons at a time, onto a hot, lightly greased griddle, and cook as you would a pancake. We found that 2 minutes on a side was about right.
Serve immediately. These start getting a bit soggy once they are off the griddle. Soggy is not the same as tasty (spelled differently), so just dish ’em up and munch them down.
We liked the fritters, though they were a bit different from what we normally think of as fritters. These are a pretty good way to use up a few ears of corn that aren’t quite up to snuff for grilling. And, you get a bit of arm exercise. Four stars.