Sunday, September 16, 2012

Frying

Corn used to conjure up the same image for me for many years; stalls on the streets of Athens, selling grilled corn on the cob, their irresistible, smoky smell penetrating my nostrils, commanding me to stop, inhale and occasionally succumb to buying one.






That was for me the best way to eat corn; barbequed or grilled. Sure, boiled was nice, slathered with lots of butter and sprinkled with a generous amount of sea salt and I liked it in salads, with its sweet flavor and vibrant, yellow color livening them up but other than that, I had never done much more with it.






For the last couple of years, things have changed. I no longer view the corn in the same way. I value it, I cherish it and I cook it in many different ways, trying to get the most out of it. Granted, I don't have to try too hard, it's incredibly flavorful on its own.






I don't normally deep-fry things, take a look at my recipes, you'll not find many for deep-frying, actually, you'll only find one, but in this case, this was what needed to be done. Because, this is delicious.






Deep-fried sweet corn fritters. You may imagine something greasy and stodgy but that couldn't be further from the truth. They're light, fluffy and airy and most importantly, unbelievably crunchy. Everything you want from a fritter, that is.






They're not made with a large amount of batter, the corn is the protagonist here, and when you bite into one, the juices from the kernels burst in your mouth. The flavor of the corn is deep and intense and needless to say, the freshest the corn, the better the fritters will taste. They need to be sprinkled with lots of dried chilli flakes, or in my case boukovo, which adds a welcomed touch of heat and spice, and a good squeeze of lemon on top gives them a sharpness that contrasts their sweet flavor.






The only thing you need to be careful of is to make enough, because trust me, they'll vanish within seconds.











Deep-fried Sweet Corn Fritters
Barely adapted from The Telegraph

Use fresh oil and fresh sweet corn. You'll get the best results and your fritters will be more tasty and light. Don't use canned corn, it's too soft and wet, and the fritters won't be as crunchy.
Also, when you buy fresh corn, eat it as soon as possible, because it releases its sugars and becomes very starchy.






Yield: 4-6 appetizer servings

Ingredients
4 fresh ears of sweet corn
1 liter sunflower oil
200 g all-purpose flour
1 large egg
200 ml sparkling water, very cold
Salt
Boukovo or any other type of dried chilli flakes
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

Special equipment: fine sieve, hand whisk


Preparation
Take the fresh ears of corn and peel off the husks. Then remove the silk, making sure not to leave any stuck between the kernels.
Using a thin-bladed and sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cob. The best way for me to do this, is by cutting the corn in half crosswise with my hands, stand it up on its flat side and cut the kernels off.
Be careful not to cut too close to the stalk. If you do, you'll feel resistance, because the stalk is hard, so you'll know where to cut.
Place all the kernels in a small bowl.

In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pan, add the sunflower oil. Be careful not to use a pan that's too small, because the oil will rise and bubble and triple in size when you add the fritters. You don't want the oil spilling out of the pan.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat. You can check if the oil is ready for frying by dropping in it a 2.5 cm cube of white bread and if it browns in 60 seconds, it is ready. If it browns in less time then your oil is too hot!

In the meantime, prepare the batter. It's crucial that you prepare the batter at this point and not earlier, because this way it will retain the bubbles from the sparkling water and the fritters will be more airy and crispy.


In a medium-sized bowl, sieve the flour and create a well in the middle. Add the egg in the center and whisk (not hard) using a hand whisk, gradually incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl. Add the sparkling water, pouring it little by little and whisking continuously until it comes together into a somewhat thin batter (not too thin but much like thick cream). Add the corn kernels and mix well with a spoon.

Once the oil is hot enough, deep-fry heaped tablespoonfuls of the corn-batter mixture. Do not overcrowd the pan because they will not be uniformly fried. Fry them for 2-3 minutes, until they take on a golden color and crisp up.

Remove the fritters from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to drain excess oil. Then transfer them onto a platter, sprinkle them with some salt and as much boukovo as you want (I add a lot!), and serve with the lemon wedges.
Eat them while they're still hot.






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6 comments:

  1. I grew up where a lot of sweet corn was grown, but it never occurred to me a use the corn to make a fritter. I've had plenty of hushpuppies (cornmeal fritters), but this looks way better. I'll be trying this soon!

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  2. Count me in! Fresh corn is still in our markets and I really look forward to trying this. Thanks! ~ David

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  3. We Indians make similar fritters with a slight variation in ingredients and donot use the flour. Yours look fabulous too and it is worthy of a trial:)

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  4. These look DELICIOUS! I really have to try them ....

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  5. I love corn and I know what you mean regarding the smell of it when it is bbqed in the streets. These appetizers look very tasty and I am sure we would all enjoy them!

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  6. Street vendorS are selling corn these days and this recipe is so timely! Thanks for a great one, will try it asap !

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