Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Corn Fritters with Arugula

I must warn you, this dish is pretty decadent, for corn. And I say that as a woman who usually prefers her corn on the cob grilled, drizzled with butter, lime juice and cajun pepper and then rolled in parmesan cheese. So if you’re the sort who frets that anything more than a little butter and salt might be too much for your ears, this is not the recipe for you.
But for the rest of me, these fritters are just as good as they sound.
(It’s another one from Local Flavors, and seriously, I’m not on the payroll. I’m just suffering from a new cookbook crush. I’m sure when my summer fling is over I’ll go back to my old favorite, The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home).
Cutting the corn and getting the milk for this recipe is a messy business, though sort of fun in a weird way. So if you’re cooking for company either do this well in advance or outside unless you are having the kind of guests who won’t mind that your kitchen is covered in corn flecks.
My version ended up a bit more fricassee than fritters which I attribute to not quite enough flour, too small a pan, and the fact that I’m a Lutheran from Long Island and my people do many things well but cook balls of things in oil is not one of them. Those of you from more fritter-friendly cultures will not have the same problems, I suspect.
I have to say almost forwent the arugula since the bunch I had slated for this dish had to pinch hit for spinach in another recipe the previous. But my husband offered to go fetch some more and I’m glad he did, even though ours was no longer local Farmer’s Market yumminess but rather from a neighborhood grocery store that I normally don’t buy anything from that’s not beer, chips or in a factory-sealed can. But the sharp flavor of arugula contrasted against the cheesy corn is what makes this dish. Arrange it around the fritters and make sure each plate has enough to have some in every bite.

6 ears sweet corn
2 eggs beaten
4 scallions, finely sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley (having no parsley, I substituted some cilantro which worked nicely)
2 tablespoons shredded basil or dill
1 cup grated aged cheddar
1/3 cup flour (I used whole wheat flour)
salt and pepper
butter or oil for frying
a few handfuls of trimmed arugula

1. Slice the kernels off the corn with a sharp knife and then squeeze out the milk with either the back of the knife or a butter knife. Mix the corn kernels with the eggs, scallions, herbs, cheese and as much flour as can be easily absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Coat a pan generously with oil or butter and heat. Divide the batter into sixths and drop into the skillet. Fry over medium heat until golden brown, about two minutes a side.
3. Put the fritters on plates with the arugula and eat immediately.

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