Thursday, May 3, 2012

Corn Cakes with Tomato Avocado Relish

You can make bite-sized corn cakes to serve as appetizers or larger cakes served with a salad for a light lunch or dinner. Feel free to use defrosted frozen corn in place of fresh if it is not in season. I prefer to use fresh corn that was frozen at the height of the season. To make your own freezer corn, remove the husks and rinse the cobs to remove any remaining silks. Stand each ear in a large shallow bowl and cut the kernels from the cobs. Blanch the kernels in boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes then remove the kernels to a ice water bath to cool down. When the corn is cooled, remove from the ice water and pat dry. Fill a zip-top freezer bag about half full, remove the excess air, and zip the bag closed. Flatten out the bag of corn and label the bag with the contents and date. Transfer the bags to the freezer and enjoy the flavor of fresh corn no matter what season it is.

Corn Cakes with Tomato Avocado Relish
recipe courtesy of  Annie's Eats originally adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, originally from Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen

For the corn cakes:
3 large ears of corn, shucked
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
¼ cup red onion, finely diced
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

For the relish:
1 large tomato, cored and chopped
1 scallion, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of half a lime
1 ½ teaspoon olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
Ranch dressing, for serving (optional)

Cut the corn kernels off of the cobs and place in a large bowl. Place 2 cups of the corn kernels in the food processor and pulse several times, until the corn is slightly pureed but still chunky. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the remaining corn kernels. Add the flour, cornmeal, onion, basil, baking powder, and baking soda to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix well. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and butter, and stir just to combine.

To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients except the avocado in a medium bowl and mix well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 days. Just before serving, mix in the avocado.

Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add just enough oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan and heat until sizzling hot. Scoop the batter into the skillet a heaping tablespoon at a time, cooking the cakes in batches of 4 or 5 so that they are not touching. Fry 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer the cooked cakes to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve immediately topped with the relish and served with ranch dressing, if desired.