Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spicy Sweet Corn Cakes

The sweet corn this Just, wow. Corn isn't usually even in my top twenty favorite fresh foods. But. This year, the sweet corn crop may have converted me. I discovered Peter's Pumpkins on a tip from another local blogger and I've found them at Midtown on Saturdays and Kingfield on Sundays.

Now, I'm not typically very chatty with strangers, but I mentioned to the farmer (could have been Peter himself for all I know) that I'd heard he had the best corn. He modestly agreed and said he uses a different type of seed that ensures the corn stays sweet all summer, not just at one peak time. He wasn't just selling me a line and some ears of corn, he was dead serious. This corn is juicy, bright, creamy, and so very very sweet.

As mentioned earlier this week, I vacuum sealed most of the two dozen ears I bought on Saturday. This likely means I prepared and froze this amazing corn on the same day it was picked. Cool. And I saved some kernels for eating this week also.

Tonight I combined the corn with a few other simple ingredients (the chile peppers and onion were from the farmer's market, too) to make these cakes. When you toast up sweet kernels of corn, they sizzle and pop like popcorn and develop a rich deep caramelized flavor that's addictive. I'm not even going to tell you how many of these corn cakes I ate. (It was three.) (Okay, four.) They were delicious with a mug of roasted tomato, red pepper, and basil soup.

Other serving suggestions include giving your corn cakes a more latin flair with avocado, black beans, and pico de gallo (this WILL happen tomorrow, I can already taste it!). Or serve with Scalloped Tomatoes. Or on a bed of salad greens with salty feta cheese, tomatoes, and a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. Or just snack on them as is, whatever floats your boat, freak.

Spicy Sweet Corn Cakes, adapted from alexandra's kitchen
Makes about a dozen small cakes

1/2 cup corn meal or polenta (or more if needed)
2 cups sweet corn kernels
1/2 small red onion, diced very fine
2 serrano chiles, seeds and ribs removed and diced very fine
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 cup shaken buttermilk (or more if needed - and can substitute plain yogurt)

Mix all ingredients together and let rest for 5 minutes. If super wet or too dry, add more corn meal or buttermilk. You're looking for a thick pourable consistency, like pancake batter.

In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil (I used evoo) over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Use a large scoop to pour about 2 Tbsp batter into a small pile in the pan. Fit as many as you can in the pan.

Let cook about 2 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom, then flip and cook another minute or two. Remove to a towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Continue with remaining batter until gone.

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