Summer Corn Cakes

August 7, 2013

Author Notes: I first tasted this corn cake at Kerry Diamond's quaintly Southern restaurant Seersucker, where it was strewn with a tangle of raw corn kernels and heirloom tomatoes -- and that's what you should do to it too. (Two seasonal birds, one stone.) The thing lasted a mere 3 minutes on the table, and around minute 1, it occurred to me that this was the only responsible way to navigate corn fatigue: let the sweet, starchy kernels stage a little healthy competition with basil and red onion, and then mellow it all out in a hot, buttered skillet.

If you're wise, you'll top it with a poached egg, like Seersucker does. A fried one works just as well, so long as there's a runny yolk to mediate between flavors, to make them place even nicer than they're told they should.

Recipe adapted from Seersucker.
Kenzi Wilbur

Makes: eight 4-inch cakes

Ingredients

For the cakes:

  • 2 cups corn kernels, divided in half (from about 3 ears)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for cooking
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup basil chiffonade, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

For the topping:

  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Eggs, poached or fried or left off if you're lazy
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. In a blender, purée half the corn kernels, butter, and buttermilk until mostly smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Mix in remaining corn kernels, onion, and basil.
  2. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine all of the dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until just combined.
  4. In a skillet, melt some butter over medium heat and about add 2 heaping tablespoons of batter for each pancake. (You can customize this based on how big you'd like your cakes to be, of course.) Cook about 2 minutes per side or until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. For the topping, combine tomato and corn with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spoon mixture over the corn cakes.
  6. Top each cake with an egg, salt, and pepper, and garnish with basil.

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