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Cheesy Corn Fritters with Jalapeño Pesto

May 18, 2011

Last month, I was talking to our resident cheese monger, Kathleen of The Bloomy Rind, about using cheeses in savory dishes. We were even talking about doing an entire cheese dinner for supper club (how fun would that be). So, when I went to her booth at April’s Night Market, I started tasting a lot of cheeses and wondered how I could use them.

I took one bite of Landaff Cheese from Landaff Creamery in New Hampshire. It tastes kinda like cheddar. It’s a semi firm cheese and has great acidity and sharpness. I had seen quite a bit of summer corn around, and then the idea hit me! It was time to make some corn fritters….CHEESY corn fritters. And this cheese was absolutely perfect for the job.

This fritter is so light, airy, and crunchy. A lot of baking powder goes into the batter, so it cooks up great. Whenever I make a fritter, I want a sauce to dip it in. So here is a jalapeño pesto – and let’s just say it’s not shy on the heat. I love spicy food, so this sauce is a winner for me – I use it on pizza, as a marinade, tossed with pasta, as the base of a dressing – you get the point. It’s good on everything. A small, acidic tomato relish brings some freshness to the dish and cuts through the fried fritter.

Cheesy Corn Fritters with Jalapeño Pesto

(Fritter recipe adapted from Michael Mina: The Cookbook, Pesto recipe from Bobby Flay)

For the fritters:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 ears sweet yellow corn, kernals cut from the cob (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

1/2 cup grated cheese, preferably Landaff or cheddar

1 cup ice water

Canola oil

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cayenne, black pepper, corn, chives, and cheese in a bowl and combine. Whisk in the ice water until the mixture is like cake batter. Refrigerate while you heat the oil.

Heat oil in a pan for deep frying, or heat your deep fryer for 360 degrees. Remove the batter from the fridge and carefully add heaping spoonfuls of batter into the oil. Do about 5-6 at a time, and do not overcrowd the pan.

Fry the fritters until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes total. Remove them from the fryer and put on a plate lined with paper towels. Season with a little bit of salt.

Continue frying until all the batter is done.

For the jalapeno pesto:

1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves
4 jalapenos, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, pine nuts, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and process until emulsified. Scrape into a bowl.

For the tomato relish:

1 large tomato, cut into small dice

2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives

kosher salt

extra virgin olive oil

Combine the tomato and toss with the chives. Season with salt and add a little bit of olive oil to coat.

Assembly:

Corn Fritters

Jalapeño Pesto

Tomato Relish

Put three strips of pesto on a rectangular plate, if you have it. Put a fritter in the middle of each strip. Garnish with the tomato relish.

Enjoy, folks!

Cheers,

Vivek


18 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2011 11:33 AM

    You used a deep fryer, right? These sound and look wonderful, but I am not a fan of the mess of deep frying in a skillet. Maybe you should just sell these.🙂

    • May 18, 2011 12:33 PM

      I did use one – got one of those really small, counter top fryers – which works pretty well for small batch stuff without creating a mess or using too much oil. I only use it 3-4 times a year, but it comes in handy for things like this!

  2. May 18, 2011 5:12 PM

    these were amazing!!! yum!

  3. May 18, 2011 10:12 PM

    These would make a great culinary gift for a friend who happens to be heading through Nashville on a long road trip:)

  4. May 20, 2011 3:05 PM

    these look amazing! they also remind me that we need to invest in a deep fryer – i currently just deep fry in oil in a pot/skillet, but that’s a giant spattering mess. i think i’ll grab one this weekend – thanks for the inspiration! and per usual, your plating looks lovely.

  5. May 20, 2011 7:01 PM

    I’m loving the idea of jalepenos in pesto! (Great photo!!!)

  6. May 22, 2011 10:01 AM

    Vivek gets my vote for National Food Blog Plater of the Year. Seriously, if there is such an award out there…give it to the man.

    • June 13, 2011 1:13 PM

      I agree, they just look fantastic on the plate. Not sure I could make anything look quite that good…

  7. June 13, 2011 10:48 AM

    Yum!!!

  8. June 13, 2011 11:04 AM

    Those look amazing and I love the pairing of the relish with the spicy pesto.

  9. June 13, 2011 1:12 PM

    They look simply amazing. Delicious. May have to give them a go!

  10. June 13, 2011 6:13 PM

    Um, WOW!! These sound amazing!! Will definitely have to try when i have all the ingredients. Thanks for sharing!

  11. June 14, 2011 1:22 PM

    This looks fantastic. Fritters = happiness. Cheesy Fritters = even more happiness!

  12. June 15, 2011 2:03 AM

    amazes me🙂

  13. June 16, 2011 10:14 PM

    Looks and sounds so good! I have been contemplating a small deep fryer – so much easier then frying in a big pot of oil…you may have just put me over the edge.🙂

  14. June 20, 2011 3:29 AM

    Quick and easy but it looks so amazing and delicious!

  15. July 7, 2011 5:19 PM

    Jalapeno pesto sounds like a REALLY good idea. Maybe I’ll give it a try. Really nice presentation by the way. I think I need to invest in new plates.

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