5 - Corn Fritters

It’s possible that these corn fritters originated in a cooking class Sarah took in middle school.

Whatever the source, they were a real breakfast treat. I loved making them. To me, corn fritters were a purely literary food.

Like biscuits and honey or chicken and dumplings, they existed in some America--be it southern, or farm, or western or long ago, that I experienced only through books.

During my New Jersey childhood, sweet corn in summer was a major treat—but we only ate it fresh off the cob--never in its derivative forms--and I don't know if we ever deep-fried anything. Certainly not corn fritters.

Although I cooked at least one meal a day for many years, the only total failure I can recall is one batch of Sunday corn fritters. No roasts forgotten in the oven, no substituting salt for sugar, or curdled milk and eggs. Maybe I had a high tolerance for less than perfect dishes, or perhaps I was just lucky, or more likely, I may just have forgotten scores of traumatic failed meals.

But sneaking out of the repressed memory bank is a Sunday morning corn fritter disaster. I somehow added many too many spoonfuls of baking soda to my fritter batter. No explanation. No excuses. Hard to imagine what caused such a serious lack of focus. I’d surely avoided inevitable distraction ten thousand times before.

But—there they were: inedible corn fritters. I believe we tossed them and made another batch—but perhaps we just scrambled some eggs. So--read this carefully. Pay close attention and it should all work out:

Sift together: 2 cups flour (now that I think of it--you might want to substitute cornmeal for some of the flour--I think you can play around quite a bit with the proportions here--despite my previous admonition), 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons baking powder.

Add 1 tablespoon corn oil, 1 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar, 1 cup milk, 3 egg yolks, and 1 cup corn (ideally fresh--scraped off the cob--but you can cheat on this—I usually used cans of kernels from Trader Joe’s--frying will conceal many imperfections)

Mix all of this well.

Beat those three egg whites until stiff and fold gently into corn mixture.

Preheat oven to 325

Now--comes the frying. Truth be told, I always chicken out when measuring out the oil (I use a mild vegetable oil, like canola) --and don't go for full immersion—an inch or so, seems enough. When the oil is hot, drop batter in by tablespoons--they should puff up instantly. Flip when the bottom is dark golden brown--flip (if you've put in plenty of oil--flipping won't be necessary.)

After two or three minutes, remove the golden brown fritters and put them in a muffin tin. One fritter per muffin holder.

Bake (or keep warm) in oven for about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve with maple syrup.

Just like Little House on the Prairie, No?

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