I’m a midwest girl. I’ve been on the west coast now for quite a few years and you would think that it would have rubbed off on me a little more than it has, but my heart still belongs to the corn fields, fireflies, and sweet smell of milkweed. There is no time when I am more acutely aware of my transplantation than in the summer, August in particular. August is the heyday of summer. Hot days, warm nights, and bushels and bushels of garden produce. Tomatoes, corn, and so many zucchini you have to leave them on your neighbor’s porch under the cover of night just to get rid of them.
At the end of last week we had a heat wave of sorts, three days of over 90°. It was glorious! We ate blueberries by the river, drank iced coffee for breakfast and generally basked in the warmth. Our friends complained that it was too hot and were glad when the rain and clouds returned, just in time for the weekend. We, my summer lovin’ sweetie and I, were more than a little bummed.
For a couple of mid-west girls there is nothing more synonymous with August than sweet corn. Juicy and sweet, each kernel the perfect shade of butter yellow. It is hard to find good, really good, sweet corn out here. The summers aren’t long enough and it doesn’t get hot enough. There must be something about the oppressive humidity (one thing I do not miss!) that makes the corn so satisfyingly sweet.
I found some ears of corn on sale at the grocery store last week, assuming they would only be a faint semblance of corn I dream about but desperate none the less, I picked up a few. Over a dozen ears later it is as close to mid-west sweet corn as I’ve had in quite a while. I didn’t ask where it came from, probably shipped over several thousand miles from the mid-west its self and holding on to its sweetness by some miracle, but I don’t mind. August is treating me well. If only we could hold onto the heat for a while longer.
My mother has been making these corn fritters for years. Anytime there is leftover corn she’ll whip up a batch sometime during the following week. Deep fried and doused with maple syrup they are gone in no time. Deep frying has always intimidated me, and I have yet to attempt it on my own, but now that I have a Le Creuset dutch oven I’m feeling more confident.
16 ounces corn kernels
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon melted butter, cooled
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Mix corn, milk, egg, and butter in bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, pepper, flour, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to corn mixture a little at a time, mix with a fork or whisk to avoid flour lumps.
In a cast iron pan with several inches of oil heated to about 375°, drop spoonfuls of batter carefully into the oil. The fritters should flip them selves over when they are done on one side. Remove from oil and allow to cool in a paper towel lined bowl when they are a golden brown color and are cooked through, about 6-10 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the heat of the oil so keep a close eye on them.
Serve with maple syrup! Makes about a dozen fritters.