“…pray what more can a reasonable man desire, in peaceful times, in ordinary noons, than a sufficient number of ears of green sweet-corn boiled, with the addition of salt?” Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Sweet corn dripping morning dew is one of the best parts of summer. But, blissful as it is, a whole lot of people either can’t or don’t like to eat it on the cob.
There are all sorts of solutions to this, the simplest being to prepare cobs for eating (including butter and the seasoning of your choice). Then, just using a chef’s knife to shear the kernels off as many cobs as needed for the non-cob eaters.
There’s also this way, which is a fresh take on hoe cakes I found in Victoria magazine. Of course, being me, I’ve tweaked their very fancy version into more of a mountain style, adding some dairy-free fat and so on. Here it is:
In a medium bowl, mix 3/4 cups yellow corn meal, 1/2 cup flour (wheat or gluten free), 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon each of dried tarragon, dried dill and dried parsley. (Up the herbs to 1 Tablespoon each if you are using fresh.)
Add 1 egg, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and 1/2 cup of milk (dairy or dairy free) and mix until just blended. Fold in about 2 cups fresh sweet corn. (If you are using frozen corn — which is better if fresh corn is out of season or not available — thaw or lightly saute the kernels first or they will clump.) The mixture should be thick, but not dry. If it is crumbly, add a second egg and/or more mayonnaise.
Prepare one or more iron skillets by heating them and pouring in about 1/4 inch oil. Drop balls of the batter (about the size of a ping-pong ball) onto each skillet. (A nine-inch skillet can cook three cakes at a time.) Fry on one side until the batter is set enough to flip the cake and the bottom is golden brown. Fry on the other side until the other side is browned, as well.
In the warmth of summer, just stack the cakes on a platter lined with oil-absorbing paper towels and bring them to the table where you have some sort of colorful, relish-like topping ready in a bowl. (In the winter, keep them warm in a super-low oven or cover with a towel until serving.)
I chose to top our cakes with halved grape tomatoes tossed with vinegar and oil. The topped cakes are delicious with a green salad or a fruit salad. In cold weather, they would be wonderful with soup.