As a child, I knew my grandmother’s zucchini were out of control when the “pancakes” started showing up on the table at meal times. They were made in the same vein as her potato latkes, light and crispy-almost frilly-around the edges. Some had dill and a little cottage cheese and others had chives and no cheese at all. I grew up watching Marjorie make these kinds of recipes up, or so it seemed. Turns out, she had a general idea of the ratios for certain dishes and they could be used across a multitude of main ingredients, in this case the pancake (or fritter, as I came to know them). So, the same thing happened when her corn came in and we never complained one little bit.
Last week the corn came in at Bartlett’s Farm. This is a BIG deal on the island (I feel that it is an equally big deal when the corn at Moor’s End comes in too). I happened to be at the market when the young man wheeled the first cart up to the corn table and I asked if that indeed was the first of the year. He nodded yes and handed me an ear, smiling. I am going to admit that I had a moment where I was all like, “where’s the newspaper guy with a camera? I HAVE THE FIRST EAR OF CORN!” Yeah, I felt that I deserved a little fame for getting up early and being in the right place at the right time. Sadly, the press had NOT been alerted, and so I went on my way and took that bunch of corn and did the first thing I do evert July. I made a batch of fritters and served them to my gracious clients for lunch. And said a quiet thank you to my kitchen angel, Marjorie, without whom I wouldn’t have a clue about food. Thanks, Gram. This one is for you.
3-4 ears of corn, shucked and kernels removed in the least messy and chaotic way you know how (no comment from me here-I tend to have sporadic luck in this department)
2-3 scallions, minced nice and fine
1/2 of a roasted red pepper (freshly made or from a jar-your choice-we just like the hint of red here)
A handful of minced chives (or any other green herb you like)
One handful of flour, I use the GF Cup-3-Cup kind, but any kind of regular flour works too
1 t baking powder
1 egg, beaten
An optional 1/2 cup of feta or other crumbly white cheese (I only do this occasionally and typically when the corn are getting older)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Yellow Oil or Ghee for frying
This is literally the easiest thing in the world. Mix the first four ingredients and sprinkle the flour and powder of them and toss with a large fork. Add the egg and cheese if you are using and salt and pepper. Heat a nice large skillet over a medium heat-cast iron is best-until a drop of water dances on the surface. Pour enough oil or ghee in the pan to cover the bottom generously. Drop between an 1/8 to a 1/4 cup of the corn mixture onto the skillet and cook until brown, flip and set onto a warmed plate (you can keep them warm in a low oven if you like).
I serve these in different ways. Sometimes, I grill a piece of fish and do a fresh salsa, occasionally I get fancy and do smoked salmon, creme fraiche, pickled red onions and minced fresh dill, other times, a nice crispy chicken thigh and some sweet chili sauce does the trick. They are such a great vehicle for sauces and protein sides...Experiment, please! And let me know what you think.