Sunday mornings at our house in August and September usually mean corn fritters. This is when Maine corn is at its best. From the early Spring Treat through the late Silver Queen, the varieties just get better and better as the weeks go by. We don't grow corn in our garden—we don't have the space, and frankly, I don't have the energy to fight with the raccoons over it—but I usually buy it every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday at the farmers' market. That means corn on the cob on Tuesday and Friday nights, and corn fritters with butter and maple syrup on Sunday mornings. Does it sound like we're stuck in a rut? Well, it's a very nice rut! I recommend it.
The recipe I make is the same one my mother, and probably my grandmother, made. We're not talking anything deep-fried here. These fritters are just pancakes by another name. They're little pillows of fresh, sweet corn with just enough flour and egg to bind the corn together. There's nothing special about the recipe itself. It's a snap to make, and it requires only 5 ingredients—two of which are salt and pepper! What's special about corn fritters is that they really are a seasonal treat. I wouldn't think of making them with canned or frozen corn. That means we have about 8 weeks, tops—if we're lucky—in which to enjoy them.
I got started on this year's "frittering" two weeks ago, with Sunday brunch at Anna and Andy's house. I plan to keep it up for as many more Sundays as the corn holds out.
This recipe calls for 2 cups of corn, but don't feel you need to be spot-on with this measurement; a little more or a little less isn't going to matter. I've made these with both white flour and whole-wheat flour, with equally good results. When using whole-wheat flour, though, I use just a tad (maybe about 1 tablespoon) less than the 1/4 cup called for here.
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Using a medium-sized, sharp knife, carefully cut the kernels off the corn cobs. It's easier to do this if you lay the ears flat on the cutting board, rather than standing them up. Don't worry about separating the kernels, which usually come off in chunks (see the photo above); this will happen naturally when you mix the batter. Set the corn aside.
Separate the eggs. Put the egg yolks into a medium-size mixing bowl and beat them lightly with a fork. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and stir, then add the corn and stir again—just enough so that everything is nicely mixed together. Beat the egg whites until stiff and then gently fold them into the batter.
Heat your griddle or frying pan to medium hot, oil it lightly, and then drop pancake-size dollops of batter into the pan. Cook about 2 minutes, or until you start to see little dimples forming on the top of the pancakes, then flip them and cook another minute or so. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.