Weeknight Cooking

Summer Corn Fritters to Make in Spare Kitchen or a Stocked One

July  7, 2016

I brought Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors with me to Lake George for the Fourth of July weekend, and though I hadn’t intended to do much cooking off the grill, I couldn’t resist attempting the corn fritters with aged Cheddar, which foremost sounded delicious—Madison describes them as “all corn, not just a few kernels suspended in batter”—but also like something my minimally equipped cottage kitchen could handle.

Both proved true, the biggest challenge being not the dull chef’s knife, not the absence of a grater, not the wonky burner, not the slippery nonstick skillet, but the nature of the fritters themselves—which like many a fritter, require a trial-and-error process to get right. Here, the variables for the batter include eggs, flour, and the corn milk extracted by running the back of a knife down the cob against partially removed kernels. The amount of eggs and flour required depends on the juiciness of the kernels, and unlike fritter batters that call for partially puréed ingredients, which hold together with a squeeze of a hand, this one doesn’t. Making a test fritter is essential for assessing the consistency.

A test fritter, moreover, enables you to adjust the seasonings, which are minimal: scallions, herbs, and cheese. Madison likes using an aged Cheddar but recommends a number of others, including goat, feta, and Gouda. I was tempted to use something more exotic than Cheddar, but I’m so glad I didn’t: Not only does the sharp Cheddar complement the sweet corn so nicely, but it browns beautifully, too, creating a crisp, golden exterior.

Left, removing the kernels from the cob. Right, the batter, ready for a test fritter. Photo by Alexandra Stafford

Once the batter is tasting and behaving to your liking, frying up these fritters takes no time. With a simple green salad or a few sliced tomatoes and some good bread, these fritters can be a meal. And while I didn’t miss that slippery nonstick skillet when I got home, it was a dream to clean—the ideal ending to a summer meal, and a nice reminder that cooking this time of year is not about the gadgetry.

Alexandra Stafford is a writer, photographer, and occasional stationery designer based in upstate New York, where she is writing a cookbook. You can read more of her work on her blog.

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    Carla Morreale
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.


Mattie C. June 3, 2017
I love this easy chicken, tomato and olives recipe for summer meals. It's light and quick but looks pretty.

rmandell August 1, 2016
Has anyone tried baking these? They sound great but I try to avoid standing over a hot stove in the summer.
Alexandra S. August 1, 2016
I haven't, but it's worth a shot! You can always try one in the oven or under the broiler, and if it doesn't work, fry the remainder.
Francesca July 10, 2016
They look good. I usually make Indonesian corn fritters which are a great Javanese snack. https://almostitalian.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/charmaine-solomons-corn-fritters-pergedel-jagung/
Alexandra S. July 10, 2016
Those look delicious!!
Efiya F. August 13, 2016
Indonesian corn fritters can be simplified even further without using egg in the batter, as long as you're careful when adding the combination of flour and (very little) water. The right consistency should do fine in hot deepfrying oil. For the seasoning, I simply use minced garlic and freshly ground coriander and that's it! Perfect afternoon snack in a snap.
Josh July 9, 2016
Made these last night for dinner and they were delicious! They were actually really good ice cold out of the fridge this morning too. I'll be making them at an upcoming brunch gathering.
Alexandra S. July 9, 2016
So happy to hear this, Josh! We ended up snacking on them all day long. Glad to know they keep well in the fridge—I love these sorts of leftovers straight from the fridge, too.
Carla M. July 7, 2016
These look super yummy! Just curious if you think these could be baked in the oven instead of fried? Thanks!
Alexandra S. July 7, 2016
I'm not sure! I feel the heat of the hot oil constrains the batter and helps them keep their shape, but you could always try a test fritter in the oven and see how it does? Or you could try a test fritter under the broiler? If they spread too much, you could try preheating a sheetpan in the oven, pouring a little oil over top, then oven-frying them?
Carla M. July 7, 2016
okaykate July 7, 2016
these sound delightful! approx how many cups of shucked corn are produced by 6 ears? thinking these may translate well with frozen corn too for a taste of summer in places not currently blessed with the fresh stuff...
Alexandra S. July 7, 2016
it's about 3 cups, according to Deborah Madison ... I actually didn't measure! I will next time I make these to confirm, but I think 3 cups is a safe bet. Hope they turn out well! Let me know how frozen works if you give them a go.
okaykate July 7, 2016
will do - thanks so much!