It’s nice to be back after a two-month hiatus! I spent a few weeks in Italy, traveling with my family – visiting my grandfather’s hometown and having the opportunity to sleep in the 13th century house he lived in until he immigrated. Of course, as one does in Italy, we ate so many beautiful and amazing things. It had been a very rainy spring and early summer, meaning the cherries hadn’t quite ripened on the trees and tomatoes were a little delayed. But we managed to hit porcini season right on the nose, and took full advantage of that! My most favorite meals we ate were those that were most simple – exactly what Italians do best.
Italian food is undoubtedly delicious. Everything is homemade, the ingredients the freshest, the execution impeccable. But I came home ready for vegetables, and not those that had been cooked beyond recognition. Italians are culinary masters, but veggies are rarely the highlight. Perhaps it’s my California roots, but after weeks of perfect pasta and tender stewed wild boar, bitter cocktails and rich cheese, I was ready to cook in my own kitchen.
These corn fritters were one of the first things I made upon my return and they are absolutely delicious. Fried? Well, ok yes. But nearly all sweet crunchy corn and the rice flour gave it the most delicate crumb. The most amazing part of this recipe is how the corn is truly the star here. The kernels pop in your mouth with each bite, and the flour really acts only to hold the whole thing together, not weigh it down. I am already imagining delicious variations, namely adding jalapeno to the fritters themselves, or a couple crumbles of cotija cheese. They are a great summer dinner, yummy with things from the grill or a large salad on the side.
I’m now completely fritter happy – hopefully you will be too!
Corn Fritters with Sweet Chile Sauce
Bill Granger’s Recipe on TheWednesdayChef.com
Makes 12 fritters
1 red jalapeño, finely chopped
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar (sauce is quite sweet so you could use less sugar)
1 small clove garlic, minced
In a small saucepan, combine the jalapeño, vinegar, salt, sugar and garlic. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to a slightly syrupy consistency. Remove from heat and set aside to cool while making the fritters. (The sauce continues to thicken as it cools; it can be made a day ahead.)
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup water
2 cups corn kernels, cut from 3 large cobs
4 spring onions, finely sliced
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Oil for frying
In a bowl, sift together the rice flour, flour, baking powder, salt, coriander and cumin. Add the egg, lemon juice and water. Beat until smooth.
Add the corn, spring onions and cilantro, stirring until just combined.
In a large frying pan, pour in enough oil to generously cover the bottom. When the oil is hot but not smoking, spoon 2 tablespoons of batter for each fritter into the pan, about half an inch apart, immediately flattening each fritter slightly. Cook over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown underneath, then turn and cook the other side for about 2 minutes. Use a splatter screen to cover the pan. Transfer to a platter lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary.
Serve immediately with the sweet chile sauce or great as lunch leftovers!