These little guys are easy to make and packed full of summertime flavor. Fresh corn cut right off the cob with jalapeño, bell pepper, scallions, lime and cilantro are combined with a light batter and pan seared until golden and crispy. I like this version of corn fritters, because unlike traditional corn fritters which are heavy on the batter and deep fried, these are heavy on the veggies, and seared, highlighting the sweet fresh corn.
Served with a cooling cilantro cream, these are perfect as an appetizer, or as a light dinner along side a hearty salad. They will satisfy. They can be made in less than 30 minutes or made ahead and refrigerated….just heat them in a hot oven to crisp them up before serving.
Fresh picked corn, right off the cob has a pleasant earthy sweetness. Juicy plump kernels accentuate the fritters, giving them the perfect texture, and for this reason, I never make these using canned or frozen corn- it just wouldn’t do them justice. This is a recipe to save for when fresh corn is in season and readily available.
Picking out good corn requires a little effort at the market. Husks should be green and feel moist. You can actually feel the kernels through the husk to check for uniformity and plumpness, but if you are not sure, pull back the husks and examine before buying. This will save you from ending up with corn that is mildewy, or shriveled, clearly past its prime. If the husk looks as if it has already been pulled back, chances are, someone already checked it and ruled it out. Set it aside and dig a little deeper in the pile. Kernels should be plump and juicy and somewhat uniform and should not have any discolored or slimy spots.
After 24 hours of being picked, the natural sugars in corn start to turn into starch and they begin to loose their sweetness. So if possible, make an effort to buy the freshest corn available.
If you happen to find some really fresh corn, this grilled corn recipe, is another one of my favorites.
A tip: When making sauces or condiments using cilantro, don’t waste the stems. They too have great flavor. I will cut off the bottom inch or two of the whole bunch and then include the rest of stems when making a sauce that is blended. It adds another level of flavor. For another tasty cilantro sauce, try this cilantro chimichurri.
- 1 C flour (or use gluten free flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1T coriander ( toasted and ground, or ground is fine too)
- 2 large beaten eggs
- ¾ C whole milk or half and half
- 2 T lime juice zest of one lime
- 3 C fresh cut corn kernels ( 2½ - 3 ears)
- ½ C diced red bell pepper
- 4 scallions chopped
- ¼ C chopped packed cilantro
- ¾ C shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 T finely minced jalapeno ( about 1 jalapeno)
- Cilantro Cream:
- 1 C sour cream
- ½ C packed cilantro, stems OK
- ⅛ C fresh lime juice
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 small garlic clove
- In a large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients, mix well. In a smaller bowl whisk milk, eggs, zest and lime juice. Whisk wet into dry and making a batter. It is ok if there are tiny clumps, but work the big ones out with the whisk.
- Fold in the remainder of the ingredients; corn, bell pepper, jalapeño, cilantro, scallions, cheddar.
- Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet ( I use a cast iron skillet) with a generous amount of vegetable or canola oil, mixed with a little butter (optional) on medium high heat.
- Wait until oil is hot, and turn heat down to medium.
- Place rounded spoonfuls of fritter batter ( 2 inch round fritters) carefully into skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until crispy and golden brown. Add more oil if necessary.
- Make in batches, moving fritters to a sheet pan and transferring to a warm 350 F oven. Don't worry if they are still a touch doughy in the middle, they will continue to cook in the oven.
- In a food processor, pulse cilantro cream ingredients until blend until smooth. Serve on the side. Garnish with cilantro, lime and your favorite Hot sauce.