New Jersey Sweet Corn Fritters

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Credits: Craig Thiebaud
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Corn fritters are very southern…as are most things that end in ‘fritter’.  They are super simple, usually only comprised of a few ingredients and then fried until golden and crispy.  I looked at a ton of recipes and there are a good number out there.  Most recipes I looked at seemed to include a lot of flour and required deep frying in a large amount of oil.  However, I settled on a basic recipe that involved very little flour, which allowed the actual fresh corn to shine.  I shallow fried it, which I liked as it used a TON less oil than what you’d need for deep frying and it takes less time to heat the oil (obviously).  

I made a jalapeno mayonnaise and mixed it with a good amount of Dijon mustard and a touch of honey to use as a dipping sauce.  I thought the sauce went well with the corn fritters.  However, my wife, though she liked the sauce, preferred the fritters just plain, without the sauce.  The corn flavor certainly comes front and center if you forego the sauce.  So…up to you.  She thought that adding a bit of diced jalapeno into the corn batter would have been a good idea.  I thought about that or about adding some finely diced shallot or onion but decided since this is the first time I made the recipe that I would go with pure corn, flavored only with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  You could certainly season it differently going in either a savory or a sweet direction.  I can imagine either would work beautifully.  

I used a large cast iron pan and fit four in at a time, so they were pretty large.  You can make them larger like I did or keep them smaller.  I tested the recipe using a small amount first and the small fritter turned out just as well as the larger one.  I kept the oil between 350 and 375.  If you don’t have a thermometer, frying is more difficult but you can do it by testing the oil at first by making a small fritter and then based on that test, adjusting the range temperature up or down as needed.  You’ll need to keep a pretty constant eye on who fast the oil is cooking the fritters without the thermometer as cooking at too high a temperature will end up with burned fritters and too low will result in very soggy, oil logged fritters.

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Ingredients:

Fritters:

4 Ears fresh sweet corn

4-5 T unbleached AP flour

2 Large eggs

Peanut Oil for frying

Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Sauce:

2 Egg yolks

4 T Dijon mustard, or to taste

1 C grape seed oil (or any neutral tasting oil)

2 T olive oil

1 Garlic clove, chopped

Salt to taste

2 Jalapenos 

1 T honey

Instructions:

• Make the sauce:  Place 2 egg yolks, 1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and garlic clove in food processor and pulse until well blended.  Take grape seed oil and add olive oil to it.  Slowly (and I mean slowly…drip by drip…this could take 10 minutes or so) add the oil to the food processor while it is on full blast.  Once mayonnaise is finished, coarsely chop the jalapenos and add to food processor.  Process mixture until almost smooth.  Set aside.  Take ½ Cup of the jalapeno mayo and to it, add the remaining 3 T of Dijon mustard and the honey.  Add a pinch of kosher salt and a grind of black pepper.  Taste sauce and adjust taste by adding more salt, Dijon mustard, or mayo depending on your preference.  Chill in refrigerator in air tight container.  Mayo will last a week or so.
• Take corn kernels off the cob by scraping corn off with a chef’s knife.  Loosen other kernels and the milk by bringing the knife back up towards you (the opposite of how you took the corn off the cob).
• Add the eggs and beat in with the corn until completely mixed.
• Add in the flour tablespoon by tablespoon whisking each in before adding the next.
• Season mixture with a pinch of kosher salt.  
• Set batter in refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes (an hour would be better).
• Add enough oil to your pan so that the oil comes up between one inch to one inch and a half on the sides of the pan.  Heat oil over medium high heat until the oil reaches 375 degrees or so (350-375 is fine).  I used a very large cast iron pan.  Use the largest heavy skillet or pan you have that can handle shallow frying
• Once oil is heated, take a tablespoon of batter and place in oil.  Check the oil heat by cooking a small fritter.  This will take no time at all…maybe a couple minutes per side if it is at temperature.
• Once you are happy with the oil temperature, set a plate on the side that is lined with some paper towels.  Have kosher salt and a pepper mill at the ready as well.
• Spoon very large amounts of the batter into the oil.  Shoot for fitting in four fritters in a very large skillet.  Cook fritters for around 3-4 minutes per side or until it is browned and crispy on both sides.  Watch the oil temperature and adjust heat as necessary to keep it at a constant temperature.
• Once done, remove fritters from the oil and place on plate with paper towels.  Immediately season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  
• Continue cooking fritters in batches until batter is finished (I finished my batter in two batches).  
• Serve while hot.  If you have people waiting for the fritters, allow them to eat them right away, even if not all are ready…better to allow a few people a crispy fritter rather than waiting until all the batter is used and serving a semi-warm fritter that may have lost its crunch.  Alternately, place fritters in a warm oven until all are cooked and serve everything at once.
 
To Serve:  Place fritters on a platter and place a dipping sauce in the middle of the platter.  Drizzle the sauce over the fritters to taste and enjoy while hot.

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