Hannah Palmer Egan
Corn, zucchini, cheese, chives
My plan for the day involved going to Cedar Circle Farm
and buying a pallet of heirloom tomatoes because they're on sale for $3 per pound. Then I'd make a big batch of gazpacho and think about canning the rest because it's been so hot and today would be hot, too, right?
The day had other plans. The morning dawned dark, sky churning shades of gray from slate to pale blue-silver. By 10 a.m. the clouds opened up, soaking any hope of going anywhere. But I had half a dozen ears of corn sitting on the counter, where they'd been languishing for days, fast losing sweetness.
Since it wasn't, in fact, hot but cold and wet, I made friends with my stove and fried up some corn fritters — with zucchini, since it's late summer. That means it's time to use zucchini (usually shredded, so you barely notice it) in everything
. Also raclette that I'd been hoarding from Spring Brook Farm
because it melts beautifully and stays melted for quite a while even as it cools, making it a perfect fritter-stuffing cheese.
The recipe takes a little doing, but if you've got an hour, this light and fluffy fried delight is a worthy cause.
Corn-Zucchini Fritters With Raclette
Makes 10-12 fritters
- 6 ears corn, shucked
- 1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Cumin, annatto, pepper, smoked paprika, salt and pepper to taste
- Several chives, minced
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup to taste
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 pound raclette or other mid-soft cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- Oil for frying
- Fill a large stockpot with water and set to boil. Boil the corn for five minutes and rinse with cold water so it's cool enough to handle. Cut the kernels from the cob and place in a bowl.
- Shred the zucchini and place in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir well. Let sit a few minutes so the water leaches out, then press to drain off the liquid. Add the squash to the corn along with the spices (about 1/4 teaspoon each, to taste), chives and maple syrup, and stir well.
- Reserve half a cup of the corn/squash mixture and blend the rest in a food processor until smooth. Re-combine the purée with the reserved, unblended corn mixture and place all in a large, fine-mesh sieve. Press with a rubber spatula to drain off liquid, patting the bottom of the sieve to wick the liquid away. Turn with the spatula and repeat until the mixture thickens into a soft, crumbly dough that keeps its shape when formed into balls.
- Add one egg to the corn mixture. Mix well, then return the batter to the sieve. Rest the sieve on the rim of a bowl so any excess liquid can continue to drain away.
- Crack the other egg into a bowl and scramble well. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Scatter a cup or so of flour (season with the same spices as the fritters, if you like) on a cutting board.
- Pour an inch or more of oil into a frying pan and heat on high.
- Break off a bit of corn batter, roughly the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Press a piece of cheese into the middle and massage the corn around the cheese until it is completely concealed. Gently roll this in the egg, then in the flour until it's well coated. Place the fritter in a slotted spoon, then gently drop into the hot oil. Reduce heat to medium.
- Fry until the fritter firms up and browns, then turn and do the same to the other side until the whole ball is a deep, golden brown. Place on a paper bag to drain. Repeat until you use all the batter.
- Serve with salsa or sour cream, or both!