If there's one ingredient of summer that approaches tomatoes when it comes to my giddy consumption, it's corn. Sweet, golden corn straight from the cob – I don't even need it cooked – is like a transfusion of August sunshine. Also like tomatoes, it's one of the last things you'd want out of season. But corn is coming by the heap at farmers markets right now, and I can't get enough.
We'll grill up a bunch and plow through the first few for dinner, saving the leftovers for salads. That's another delicious part of summer: pile some corn and tomatoes in a bowl, throw in anything else on hand (maybe some shredded basil, mozzarella balls, olive oil and black beans) and you're got a fine salad.
Chilled corn soup is a delectable (albeit labor-intensive) way to get your daily dose of corn. But there's one dish that's so dangerously good, I don't dare make it more than once a summer. It's talked about in reverential tones in my family. I don't even really want to tell you about it because I won't be able to resist making some for dinner tonight once I think about it. The thought will embed itself in my mind, making my mouth water as I try to banish the memory of the sizzling hot, fragrant stack of … well, here we go – corn fritters.
Not a fancy name. Oh, but what a dish. I can't tell you how many hundreds (thousands, more like) of restaurant dishes I've consumed over the years. But some remain in mind as vividly as if I'd tasted them yesterday. A now-gone restaurant in San Jose, California, where I went with colleagues on a work trip half a dozen years ago served up something they called Indonesian Corn Fritters (having now been to Bali, I'm not sure I see the Indonesian connection, but no matter). These crisp bites of fresh corn – mixed simply with celery, green onion, garlic, egg, and flour – fried and served with a salty, spicy sauce were nothing short of bliss. I pleaded for the recipe when I returned home, and to my great delight they obliged.
I now pass it on to you, with a warning. Don't say I didn't tell you so when you can't stop eating them or thinking about them.
E&O “Indonesian Corn Fritters"
3 ½ cups corn - cut from the cob by hand
½ cup diced celery
½ cup sliced green onion
3 tsp. minced garlic
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients and mix well. (you can store the mixed batter for a day if you make it ahead)
1. Using a large ladle place batter in hot peanut oil. Using the back of the ladle, flatten out the fritter.
2. When corners of fritter starts browning flip over and continue to cook until they are a light golden brown color and floating.
3. Remove fritter from oil and let sit on a wire rack to remove excess oil.
4. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with a chili soy sauce.