Cast Iron Corn Fritters

Sweet, delicious and bursting with fresh summer flavors. These cast iron corn fritters are the perfect side dish to any of your grilled meals. Lets face it we have all seen images on social media of corn fritters, they look like thick pancakes with a bit of corn sprinkled in, not these. Every bite you take will have summer sweet corn kernels bursting in your mouth.

I first had a corn fritter when I was camping with a friend, she seared a beautiful steak in a cast iron skillet over a campfire and while that steak rested she started to make corn fritters. I loved how simple the ingredients were but the fritter itself was lacking one ingredient, corn. Yes, there was some corn but what I tasted was a version of a boxed pancake mix with a bit of onions and corn added in for texture, not taste.

How to Make a Corn Fritter

Traditionally, corn fritters are a thick flour and egg batter with a small amount of fresh or frozen corn kernels added. Cooks then drop spoonfuls batter in a hot cast iron skillet and cook until the batter sets and it warms the corn through. This leaves you with a corn flapjack, not a fritter. My task was to create a recipe that increased the amount of corn and decreased the amount of binder. Here are the solutions I discovered.

  • Adding a bit of cornstarch will create a stronger binder than flour, it will also help brown the fritters faster so you don’t overcook them.
  • Adding just one egg and mixing it with the flour and cornstarch first created a bider that grabbed and coated each corn kernel.
  • Less is best with seasoning, you want the corn to be the star of this dish so adding in garlic or onion powder is unnecessary, they will overpower the corn flavor.
  • Using an ice cream scoop will help you with a consistent serving size, I love the ¼ cup or the 1.5 ounce for this recipe.

Dressing the Fritter Up

I can eat these corn fritters on their own without sauces or toppings, they are perfect just the way they are. However, sometimes adding a

bit of a flavor kick is fun. Here are three suggestions sauces to serve alongside your platter of corn fritters.

  • Creamy Pesto. Take ¼ cup prepared pesto sauce and place it in a small bowl, add 3 tablespoons sour cream, plain Greek yogurt or mayonnaise. Mix well and serve alongside the fritters for a bright and herb flavored sauce. 
  • Spiced Honey Butter. In a bowl place one softened unsalted stick of butter and to that add 3 tablespoons of honey, mix well. Add in 1-3 teaspoons (depending on your love of spice) dried red chili flake, mix well. This butter will add fantastic sweetness and bring on the heat to your corn fritters. 
  • Fresh Salsa. 2 to 3 medium-sized fresh tomatoes, chopped, 1/2 red onion, chopped 1 jalapeño chile, chopped fine, stems, ribs, seeds removed, juice of one lime and ½ cup chopped cilantro. Mix it all together in a bowl and taste to see if it needs salt and pepper. This topping would go perfectly with the corn fritters and as a topping for grilled flank.
Photo Credit: Adam Kontor

When is Fresh Corn Season?

In the United States, our season for enjoying fresh corn is May through September. My favorite place to buy this warmer month vegetable is a farmer’s market. There you will find heirloom varieties like butter and sugar, country gentleman, honey select sweet and silver queen. If you live in a climate suitable for growing corn, I suggest following this link to The Prairie Homestead. Their websites has an incredible wealth of information about heirloom seeds, planting seasons and how to garden without pesticides.

Corn season is just around the corner. So in the mean time you can start practicing this recipe with frozen corn.  One suggestion, please do not use canned cream corn, the flavor and texture will not work with this recipe.

Cast Iron Corn Fritters
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen sweet corn
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • grape seed oil or vegetable for frying
  • ¼ cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl beat the egg until well mixed, add in the flour and cornstarch, salt and pepper, whisk until no traces of flour remain, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl add the corn, onions and parsley, mix well.
  3. Add the egg mixture to the corn mixture, mix gently until the corn is completely coated in the egg mixture, set aside.
  4. In a well-seasoned cast iron pan heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. You want the oil to cover the bottom of the pan. When the oil shimmers, it’s ready to cook the fritters in.
  5. Using a small ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup scoop the corn mixture and carefully pour into the hot pan. Flatten the pancake down so there is not a high point in the center. Cook until the corn fritter is set and the edges are golden brown, about two minutes. If you see the edges are getting too dark, lower the heat a bit.
  6. Using a spatula, carefully turn the fritter and cook the other side, about 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from the hot pan and keep warm on a baking pan in a 250 degree F oven until ready to serve.
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