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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Corn Fritters with Serrano Honey and Gremolata

 Corn Fritters with Serrano Honey and Gremolata

Corn Fritters with Serrano Honey and Gremolata
By Victoria Challancin

This is one of those recipes that instantly grabbed me when I spied it in my weekly CUESA newsletter.  Modern, healthy, and with an interesting blend of components, I knew it would work.  And wow, it certainly did.  To say these fritters were a hit is a gross understatement.  Everyone loved them, including my class, family and house guest!

CUESA, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, operates the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market in San Francisco.  In addition to its educational programs, the organization feature cooking classes and provides interesting recipes for using fresh produce in its weekly newsletter.  If you don't know this site, you should definitely check it out for some interesting and healthy recipes.  For example, Summer Vegetables in Green Chile Atole with Fresh Cheese or Grilled Corn or Arugula Salad with Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette--what's not to love?
 The honey, ready to heat (yes, the orange zest is unfortunately green)

Serrano Chiles, Mexico's own

A Few Notes on Serrano Chiles

This is a short excerpt from my Guide to Mexican Chiles, which I hope to offer as a free download soon.

The name "serrano" refiers to the highlanders from the Sierras, or mountains of Mexico.

Size:  1 1/2 -3 inches x 1/2 inch

Description:  A thick[walled, elongated, cylindrical chile with a glossy, bright to deep green color that ripens to red.

Heat Scale:  7 out of 10

Other Names:  This chile is so common in Mexico that it is typically simply called chile verde, or green chile.  It is also sometimes called típico, or typical, for the same reason.

Uses:  It is used in guacamole, relishes, salsas, as a seasoning, grilled or fried (called toreados--a popular table-side accompaniment to grilled meats), in cooked dishes, and dpickled.  Raw or cooked, this is the most-used chile in Mexico.

Overview:  This is the chile of choice in Mexico for table sauces, just as the jalapeño is in the United States.  When you want to add a bright, sharp, uncomplicated heat, this is the chile to use.  The seeds are rarely removed.

 The strained honey--now I am consumed with thinking of all the ways I can use it!

Cook's Notes:  If my orange zest doesn't look the right color, it is because the oranges were nearly green!  I probably would add the traditional garlic to the gremolata next time.   I also added a bit more oil to the gremolata, but probably because "1 bunch parsley" is sorely deficient in helping the cook to know how much to add;  I, no doubt, used a big bunch that required a bit more oil to moisten it.  For the buttermilk, I used Mexican sour cream and for the sweet pepper I added some yellow and some red bell pepper for color.

Recipe:  Corn Fritters with Serrano Honey and Gremolata
(Recipe from CUESA)

Serrano Honey:
1 serrano chile
1 dried ancho chile
1 orange, zest only
1 cup local honey

2 oranges, zest only
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 ears fresh corn
12/ cup buttermilk
3 eggs
2 serrano chiles
1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup minced sweet pepper
2 12/ cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt (I used a bit less)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon oil (I used a bit more)

To make the serrano honey, split the chiles and remove the seeds and ribs.  Remove the stem and seeds from the ancho chile.  Use a peeler or microplane zester to remove the zest from the orange.  Combine the serrano, the ancho chile, the orange zest, and honey in a sauce pan and bring just to a simmer over low heat.  Remove from heat and let steep for at least 1 hour or until cool.  Reheat and strain.

To make the gremolata, use a microplane to remove the zest from the oranges.  Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to coat the parsley in oil.

To make the fritters, steam the corn in the husk, then shuck and remove the kernels from the cob.

Measure 2 cups of corn kernels into a mixing bowl and set aside.  Place the remaining corn in a blender with the buttermilk and eggs and purée.  Add the purée to the corn kernels in the mixing bowl.

Split the serrano chiles, remove the seeds and ribs, and mince.  Mince the cilantro leaves.  Add the cerranos, shallots, sweet pepper, and cilantro to the bowl.  Stir in the flour and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the oil.  Drop 2 tablespoons of corn batter into the heated skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

To serve, arrange on a serving plate and drizzle infused honey over the top.  Finish with a pinch of gremolata.

Another view

 A huge pile of fritters

A Couple of Class Photos
A couple of my students, happily at work...

 Magali and Paula sharing a laugh (Paula has just finished high school and begins university in two weeks to study gastronomy with a scholarship obtained via the NGO I work with called Mujeres en Cambio--check it out here)
 Laura zesting the sad green oranges

Vero, intent on learning--and having a good time while at it!

Note:  I have added this to the amazing and talented Nancy at Spicie Foodie for her YBR (Your Best Recipe) as my entry for my favorite recipe posted in September.

Parting Shot:
 Summer green...

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Remember that like life, recipes are meant to be shared, but please ask permission before using photos or text.  Thanks!


Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

This sounds like a great way to use the last of sweet summer corn. Is the last shot fennel or dill?

Victoria at Flavors of the Sun said...

Fennel, but they do look similar.

Eha said...

Another wonderful corn recipe to store for our season: looks so appetizing. And an added lesson that the word 'gremolata' can be used in more than one way! I only knew of the garlicky mix to use with osso buco :) ! And as an interesting PS: have just bought many of my spring/summer herbs, amidst them about 1/2 doz different heat chillies. For the first time, three have name of chilli + 'Mexicana' on the nursery label!!

minnie@thelady8home said...

Those look so yummmmmmm!!!! Love the post. The fresh fennel leaves look so appetizing!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Everyone looks like they're having so much fun in the class! :D And I'm a complete sucker for a corn fritter, don't ever leave a plate of these around me ;)

Charlie Louie said...

I love the photos of your cooking classes. They look like so much fun. I adore corn fritters and I think my recipe is very similar to yours. I serve mine with a sweet chilli sauce but I would like to try your version. Have you every burnt yourself badly cooking the fritters? I once had the oil (I had too much oil in the pan) rise up when the corn exploded like a volcano and cover my whole arm. It wasn't good xx

Hotly Spiced said...

Sorry, that comment was from me but I didn't choose my identity. Trying again...

Victoria at Flavors of the Sun said...

Ouch, Charlie! I haven't burned myself frying corn fritters (we used only the tiniest amounts of oil in a non-stick skillet), but I did accidentally pour boiling water! Thanks goodness for the aloe vera plant!

Joan Nova said...

I know I'd love this because of the flavor profiles. I'm a big fan of sweet and heat!

P.S. Your students have a gorgeous environment to work in.

Joan Nova said...

I know I'd love this because of the flavor profiles. I'm a big fan of sweet and heat!

P.S. Your students have a gorgeous environment to work in.

Victoria at Flavors of the Sun said...

Thanks, Joan. Remember "mi casa, tu casa."

Nancy said...

The recipe also grabbed my attention right away. I love the combination of flavors. Yum! Thanks for sharing it with us Victoria:)

Anonymous said...

I make these corn fritters almost exactly the same but that chilli honey just sounds fantastic. It has everything how fantastic. I love all the beautiful mexican things hanging in the kitchen

Yvette ~ Muy Bueno said...

LOVE sweet and spicy combos. I can only imagine how yummy this is. And your students are very lucky. They all look so happy. LOVE it!

Sawsan@chef in disguise said...

Amazing corn recipe Victoria
My kids love corn in any shape or form and I look forward to trying this one but I doubt theu will stand the chilis, do you think it will still be a good fritter minus the heat?

Victoria at Flavors of the Sun said...

Absotlutely, Sawsan. If the kids don't eat chiles, you might just infuse the honey with the orange zest and some spices. Just a touch of sweetness is really nice with this recipe.

t said...

This Serrano Honey sounds amazing---bookmarked to try soon!!

The Squishy Monster said...

This Serrano Honey sounds amazing and is bookmarked to try very soon!! said...

I was going out to dinner and it was cancelled so nothing to eat at home and this made me so hungry. That honey is a must to make...

Nancy said...

Hi Victoria,

Just stopping by to say thanks for being a part of the YBR:)

I'll catch up on your blog next week.