Fresh from the farm corn, one of the best delights of a South Jersey summer, is about to be going, going, gone. So before it does, treat yourself and your family to the sweetness and versatility that fresh corn is famous for.
As the last summer days continue hot, try this refreshing cold soup based on that sweet corn taste. The soup makes use of the tomatoes and cucumbers also still found fresh from local farm to local markets.
The corn fritters, almost like a pancake, can be made and served in about a half hour and take advantage of the super sweetness of today’s varieties of corn. The corn cake takes longer but is a unique and delicious way to feature our local corn harvest.
To cut corn kernels from the cob, stand a fresh cob on its wide end and cut straight downward slowly and steadily from the narrow end with a sharp steak or paring knife. Turn to do the next cut. Do this on a large plate or cloth to catch the kernels. They come off easily. If the ear of corn is too tall for easy holding, cut in half before slicing off the kernels.
Easy chilled soup is refreshing for a grilled dinner or a hot-day lunch.
3 C buttermilk, chilled and well shaken
1 C plain Greek yogurt, chilled
2 C seeded medium-diced ripe tomatoes
2 C fresh corn kernels
1/2 C small-diced fresh fennel, plus chopped fronds if available
1/2 C peeled, seeded, and small-diced cucumber
3 Tbls finely chopped fresh dill; more for garnish
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Whisk the buttermilk and yogurt in a large bowl. Stir in the tomatoes, corn, fennel, cucumber, dill, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Serve the soup in chilled bowls, garnished with dill. Tip: If you have sweet, tender farm-fresh corn, use it raw. If your corn is a little starchy, blanch the ears in boiling water and cool before cutting off the kernels. That will soften the texture. Note: Many herbs will go nicely with this soup. Try basil, parsley or a little tarragon. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Delightful as main or side dish – or, topped with sugar, syrup, or ice cream, a dessert.
¼ C milk Kernels cut from 2 ears of fresh corn, about 1 C, plus any scrapings of liquid you can get by running a knife blade along the cob lengthwise
2 Tbls stone-ground white or yellow cornmeal
¼ C unbleached white flour
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
2¼ tsp baking powder
1/2 C light vegetable oil, for frying
Whisk together the eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in the corn and any corn liquid. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Sift this dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir together to make a batter that is thick but still can be dropped from a spoon.
Pour oil into a large, heavy cast-iron skillet to reach a depth of ½ inch. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and bring the oil to 365°F, using a thermometer to gauge temperature (you can also use an electric skillet, which will tell you exactly when you’ve reached this heat.). When the oil has reached 365°, lower the heat slightly to keep the temperature stabilized, and drop the batter by tablespoonfuls onto the skillet. It will sizzle as it goes into the oil. (If the first fritter doesn’t sizzle, wait and let the oil get a little hotter before adding more.) Don’t crowd the skillet – that will bring down the heat. Fry only 4 to 6 fritters, not touching, at a time. Let the corn fritters cook until they are golden and crispy on the underneath side, about 3 minutes. When it’s time to flip them, the edges will be slightly colored and noticeably firmer, and the top of the fritter will be dryer. Flip the fritters. Allow about 3 minutes more on side two. As they cook, line a tray with paper towels or torn-open brown paper grocery sacks. Place cooked fritters on the paper towels or brown paper and blot each one quickly with another piece of paper. Serve immediately, while nice and hot. Serves 2 as a main item, 4 as a side dish. Note: For added sweetness, mix one, medium-sized, diced, seeded apple into the batter.
FRESH CORN CAKE AND RASPBERRIES
The puréed fresh corn adds unique sweetness to this dessert.
1 C fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
6 Tbls unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 C water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/4 C granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 C fresh raspberries
2 Tbls all-purpose flour (to toss fruit)
1 Tbls powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray; line bottom of pan with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray. (Cake gets sticky) Combine corn and next 5 ingredients (corn through eggs) in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into a measuring cup then level with a knife. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; stir well. Add corn mix to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Toss raspberries with 2 tablespoons of flour and fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan and carefully peel off wax paper. Cool completely on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with honey, if desired. Makes about 10 wedges.