Charred corn fritters are a perfect foray into a mid-summer BBQ or as a side dish to a larger meal. The fritters are at once smoky, sweet and salty – while the lemon and dill yogurt sauce provides just a whisper of acid and a freshness that cuts through the fat and helps the dish achieve balance.
By Carrie King
Fried food gets a pretty bad rap. But, frying is a legitimate cooking technique – one that has been around for quite some time and probably deserves a little more respect than it gets. Think of crispy golden fish & chips, or steak frîtes, or an order of perfectly fried chicken – all iconic fried foods with roots deep in their respective cultures. I think things probably started to get a little iffy when fast food joints sprang up at alarming rates and people began to avail of their fried offerings a little too often. While it’s true that consuming copious amounts of fried food will most likely put you on the fast track to obesity and ill health, I think moderate amounts of fried food are ok. Especially if you’re making them at home.
I don’t own a deep fat fryer and highly doubt I ever will, but the absence of an actual fryer doesn’t mean that you can’t dabble in fried delights at home. As a fiend for all foods that are at once salty and sweet, I liked the idea of corn fritters. Sweet corn picked and enjoyed at the height of summer barely needs to be cooked. On the spectrum of sweet, in-season corn is one of nature’s most sugary offerings. At the right time of year, each kernel is fit to burst with sweet starches and juices – it’s kind of like frying bright yellow squares of candy.
For an added dimension of smoky flavor I charred the corn first. How do you char corn without a grill? Very carefully.
The end result are fritters that serve as a perfect summer finger food – perhaps to sample while waiting for the meat to grill, or even as a choice on a buffet of side dishes. The greek yogurt based dipping sauce is alive with lemon juice and fresh dill, which compliment the corn’s sweet flavor while helping to keep the fried fritters light on your palate.
- 3 ears of sweet corn
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- A pinch of black pepper
- Grapeseed, safflower or vegetable oil for frying
- ¾ cup natural Greek yogurt
- 4 sprigs of fresh dill
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- Black pepper
- Husk the corn, ensuring that you remove all of the silks. Place the corn over your gas burners on low heat. Keep an eye on the corn and use tongs to turn the corn every so often, ensuring an even char. Once evenly charred, use a serrated knife to cut the kernels from the cob.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg and stir the corn kernels into it. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper and stir well to incorporate.
- In a large frying pan with high sides, add enough oil so that it comes about 1 inch up the sides of the pan and place it over medium-low heat. Once the oil begins to ripple, it is hot enough to begin frying.
- Use a tablespoon to carefully drop dollops of the corn batter into the oil. You will probably need to fry the fritters in two or three batches.
- Once lightly golden, about 2-3 minutes, use a slotted spatula or tongs to turn the fritters and fry on the other side until golden brown.
- Once cooked on both sides, remove from the oil and place the fritters on a wire rack or paper towel to drain excess oil.
- Season immediately with salt.
- In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, lemon juice and a pinch of both salt and pepper.
- Remove the dill fronds from the stem and mince. Add the minced dill to the sauce and stir thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Serve the sauce alongside the fritters.
Carrie King is a Brooklyn-based freelance food writer and trained chef. When not in her kitchen or at her desk, she’s poking around a market, searching for the components of her next meal. Carrie believes that in the war against bad cooking, using local and seasonal ingredients is half the battle. You can share in more of Carrie’s culinary adventures at her blog, A Cook Grows in Brooklyn.