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Sweet Corn Fritters

Entree, Recipes

Cara Mangini has created a recipe that celebrates our state’s summer sweet corn in a unique way. “You can’t help but just appreciate that moment of the year when Ohio sweet corn comes into season,” says Mangini, cookbook author and chef and owner of Little Eater restaurant in Columbus. “There really isn’t anything like that first ear, or first 10 ears. Ultimately, in my mind, there’s really nothing like that, just enjoying fresh corn off the cob with a little bit of butter and salt.”

Sweet Corn Fritters | Makes 4 to 5 servings
Recipe adapted from Cara Mangini's cookbook

3 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 ears)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus extra as needed
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup canola oil

Combine the fresh corn kernels, minced garlic, shallots, eggs, salt and pepper in a medium-size bowl. Stir well to incorporate the eggs, then stir in the flour until fully incorporated. The batter will be firm enough to hold together but loose enough to spread slightly in the pan.

Place several paper towels on top of a wire cooling rack. Heat the canola in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer, then reduce the heat to medium.

Working in batches, use a large spoon to fill a 1⁄3 cup measure with the batter and then use a spoon to help release the batter directly into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the corn fritters until they are golden brown and crispy, 2 to 2 1⁄2 minutes on each side. Transfer the fritters to the prepared cooling rack and sprinkle them lightly with salt. Reduce the heat to low between batches and remove any stray corn kernels left in the oil. Bring the heat back up to medium and continue to fry another round of fritters. Reduce the heat again if the fritters brown too quickly at any time or if the corn starts to pop. The fritters are best straight out of the pan, but you can make them ahead and store them in a single layer on a baking sheet for up to 2 hours. (Reheat them at 425 F until warmed through and crispy, about 6 minutes.) Serve the fritters immediately.

Chef’s Note: Be very careful when making fritters: the corn kernels will pop and splatter oil if the oil gets too hot. Make sure to reduce the heat as needed. Or if you want to avoid the risk completely, cook the fritters over low heat for 6 to 8 minutes on each side. (They will not be as crispy.)

Serving Suggestion: Try with just a dollop of whole-milk ricotta cheese or a smear of goat cheese. Or, serve with a salad of halved cherry tomatoes and chopped fresh basil tossed with olive oil, balsamic reduction (recipe below), salt and pepper.

Balsamic Reduction | Makes about 1⁄4 cup

1 cup balsamic vinegar

Place the vinegar in a small, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer until the vinegar reduces to about one-quarter of its original volume (about 20 minutes). Check the consistency: It should be syrupy and coat the back of a spoon. Simmer slightly longer if needed.