Corn Fritters with Cheddar & Scallions
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Loaded with corn, scallions, and herbs, these fritters are a summer favorite. The batter can be made with all-purpose flour or, for a gluten-free version, with rice flour, oat flour, or other gluten-free flour. They are delicious with a squeeze of lime, but I love serving them with tzatziki.
Every summer we spend a week in Lake George with Ben’s parents. We stay at place called Stepping Stones, an idyllic spot equipped with fully stocked cottages, but even so, I always arrive with the essentials: a chef’s knife, a peeler, a salad bowl, and … a dozen cookbooks, half of which I never open, but which I feel I must bring anyway.
What can I say? Cookbooks = security blanket.
A few summer’s ago, I brought Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors, which immediately inspired me to make her corn fritters with aged Cheddar, which I then wrote about on Food52. I made them again recently and was reminded why I love them: they are loaded with corn!
As Deborah Madison says, these fritters are “all corn, not just a few kernels suspended in batter.” And though Cheddar may sound ordinary here, its sharpness complements the sweet corn so nicely, and it browns beautifully, too, creating a crisp, golden exterior.
A Few Corn Fritter-Making Tips:
- Make a test fritter. A test fritter enables you to adjust the seasonings and consistency before you fry up the entire amount of batter.
- Adapt the recipe as you wish. I love Cheddar in this recipe, but Madison recommends a number of others, including goat, feta, and Gouda. For herbs, if you don’t like cilantro, use parsley or chives.
- Make them gluten-free. To make these gluten-free, use rice flour, oat flour or other gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose flour.
- Spice it up. As written, these fritters are flavored pretty minimally with scallions, herbs, and cheese. If you like heat, a diced hot chili, splash of hot sauce, or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes would all be welcome here.
Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors.
Update 7-29-2023: I’ve updated my method to minimize/eliminate the exploding corn issues I’ve experienced in the past. Method is reflected in the recipe below.
The batter can be made ahead and chilled in the fridge. Be sure to give it a good stir before frying.
I often make a half batch. For a half recipe, I find 1/2 cup of flour works well. And depending on how juicy the corn is and what kind of flour I’m using, I use 2 to 3 eggs.
If you don’t like cilantro, feel free to omit it or to use another herb or more scallions. I’ve made a half batch with 8 scallions and no cilantro, and it was delicious.
- 6 ears of corn, shucked
- kosher salt
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro or more to taste, see notes above
- 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces)
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- freshly cracked black pepper, optional
- olive oil or grapeseed oil, for frying
- fresh lime, sour cream, hot sauce, or tzatziki for serving, optional
- Sea salt, such as Maldon, for finishing
- Make the batter. Slice the tops of the kernels off the corn, then reverse your knife and press out the milk. (You should have about 3 cups of kernels.) Transfer the kernels and milk to a large bowl. Updated Method 7-29-2023: Line a shallow bowl or cutting board with a towel, then slice off the kernels by running a knife down the side of each cob. Pat the kernels dry with the towel, then transfer to a large bowl.
- Season with 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt. (Note: I typically use 1 teaspoon of salt for every 3 ears of corn.) Add the eggs, scallions, cilantro, cheese, and flour. Season with pepper, if using. Use a spatula to mix everything together very well. Grab a golfball-sized amount of batter and squeeze it in your hands. If it barely holds together, beat another egg, add it to the batter, and mix again — you’re looking for the batter to be pasty in texture. If the batter looks too wet, sprinkle in flour by the tablespoon.
- Make a test fritter: Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of oil. When it shimmers, drop a spoonful of the batter into the oil and flatten gently. Season with a pinch of salt. After 1 minute, check the underside to ensure it is lightly browned. If it is, flip the fritter, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until evenly golden. Season with salt. Remove the fritter and let cool briefly. Taste. If the fritter tastes nicely seasoned and holds its shape, proceed with the recipe. If it does not, adjust as necessary with more salt, egg, or flour.
- Fry the remaining fritters: In a large nonstick pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan or use a brush to distribute the oil. When it shimmers, use a large spoon to drop golfball-sized amounts of the batter into the oil, then gently flatten each mound with the back of the spoon. Season with a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium. After about a minute, check the underside to ensure the fritters are lightly browned. Flip the fritters, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until evenly golden. Transfer the fritters to a serving platter, season with sea salt, and let cool briefly. Proceed with the remaining batter, wiping out the skillet and adding another tablespoon of oil before adding more fritter batter. Warning: Please be careful while frying. Keep your heat at medium to medium-high and beware of exploding corn kernels—every so often, one comes flying out of the pan—and splattering oil. If you have one of those spatter guards, use it. I’ve found that by drying off the kernels as noted in the updated method in step 1, I rarely have the exploding-corn issue, but please be aware of it.
- Serve with fresh lime, sour cream, hot sauce, or tzatziki if you wish.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: corn, cheddar, scallions, eggs, flour, rice flour