Day 348 – National Corn Fritters Day

[ed. note: this is from Sunday – I’m behind a little in posting (not celebrating).]

I just love the sound of the word fritter. I wasn’t exactly sure what a corn fritter was, but it just sounded like it was going to be delicious. My first image was something akin to a corn dog and I always get excited at the thought of a corn dog. But that’s not what a fritter is. Then I had visions of little patties chockablock full of whole corn kernels with a nicely brown outer coating fried to perfection. I think that was a little closer to what an actual fritter is, and if so, it still sounded like something I was very interested in. This would be a fun one to celebrate.

A fritter is essentially a fried batter that is sometimes filled with bits of meat, seafood, vegetables fruit or other ingredients. In this case, it’s filled with corn and like mostly everything that’s made of corn, it finds its origins with Native Americans. It was the Native Americans that figured out a way to take corn kernels (or maize) mixed with some flour and to cook them up into beautiful little fritters. They sounded pretty complex but the more I looked at the recipes, the more I thought they were really pretty simple. I decided to go with a recipe from the folks at Jiffy. Jiffy has cornered the market on boxed cornbread making. More importantly, at least to us, we use their mix every holiday to create Paula Deen’s famous corn casserole – a fan favorite on any table. The folks at Jiffy do nice things with corn, so I trusted them with my fritter needs. The recipe I found was for “Jiffy” Corn Fritters (the awful use of apostrophes is all theirs) and it looked like it could have been a recipe that came directly from the box.

I was working most of the day and I got out at about 7:45 PM which gave me just enough time to hit Clements and pick up what I needed for dinner. Essentially all I needed was a can of corn, some sour cream and a box of Jiffy. I decided to pick up a container of Lloyd’s pulled pork too, just because I felt we need some protein to go along with it and I thought the pork would be a nice complement. When I got home, I got right to cooking although I made a slight change to the recipe. The recipe had me dropping the dough into hot oil to fry. I didn’t feel like heating up oil, so I decided to pan fry it instead. I threw the griddle pan on the stove and let it heat up, then I tossed the dough together. It was super easy – you throw everything into a bowl and mix. Then I scooped it onto the hot griddle in little blobs. Meanwhile, I dropped the Lloyd’s pulled pork into a sauce pan to heat it up. It already comes seasoned in the Lloyd’s barbecue sauce but I added in some chipotle flakes and a few more seasonings to put my own spin on it.

Oddly enough, the batter that I cooked on the griddle ended up looking more like a griddle cake than it did a fritter. I was ok with that and technically, it was still a corn fritter because it was fried corn batter. It just looked like a pancake. Actually, it looked like a Johnny Cake. That’s a local Rhode Island creation that’s essentially a pancake made from corn flour (you may remember Vito from the Sopranos had a hankering for them). I can’t tell you for sure if I had made a fritter or a Johnny Cake, but either way, it worked for me. I put them on a  plate along with the pork which I topped with some fresh cilantro and some chipotle sour cream on the side. It looked pretty tasty and Lola was impressed at how fast I had cranked out this meal.

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Whatever you call it, it was fantastic. Really. Although I will say I was pretty hungry when I sat down to eat it, so that may have affected my judgement. I’ll start with the pork which was really good – nice and tender and plenty of seasoning. The barbecue sauce picked up some heat from the chipotle and cut some of the sweetness. The fresh cilantro added a touch of goodness to each bite as well and the sour cream added an element of cool to the whole dish. The fritter/Johnny Cake was nice and fried on the outside and had a crisp texture to it much like a nice pancake would. Inside is where the corn flavor jumped out at you. It had the hint of corn muffin texture to it (the Jiffy mix shining through) and the kernels of corn added little pops of fresh corn taste to each bite. The sour cream in the batter gave it a light and airy texture with some creaminess to it too. I topped the fritters with a light sprinkle of cheese which wasn’t really necessary but I was going for that Mexican flavor profile. Everything here worked really well together and it ended up being a pretty nice Sunday dinner.

We finished just in time to settle in for Game of Thrones which was back after a long hiatus. We were looking forward to the new season all week long especially after rewatching the last season in chunks throughout the week. It was good episode too – a great start – but not too much actually happened over the hour. Still, that just means more will come in the weeks ahead. Winter is coming, as they say. As for us though, we watched eagerly in content with bellies full of a great dinner. Tonight we discovered an easy new dish to make that we both became fast fans of. We will be making these again for sure. Fritters ended up being everything I imagined they would be. They may have come out looking a little different than I thought they would, but they delivered the taste and freshness I was searching for. That’s how we celebrated at our house, may it please the old gods and the new.

Next up: National Peach Ice Cream Day 

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