I was packing Trey’s snack and book bag (yes we’re in school until the bitter end of June, here) while simultaneously sipping coffee.
The news caught my attention and suddenly a memory overcame me:
While I have always loved Christmas, I was also fourteen years old and very little could pass as “awe-inspiring” at that time. You see, I had a unique gift that only teenagers have; I knew everything already. I saw everything, I knew everything my mother was going to say even when she hadn’t said it yet, and I could see into the future. I knew exactly how my life would turn out. So you know, little impressed me. I also wore overalls and oversized flannel shirts. It was 1995.
I ripped the paper off of a very heavy package, wrapped in a bow and unearthed a book called “Linda’s Kitchen”. It was a cookbook. I cracked the spine and flipped through hundreds of recipes, one more gorgeous than the next. It was written by Linda McCartney, who, unbeknownst to me at that time, was one of the coolest people on the planet. I had never owned a cookbook before that, and so I attempted to give it a whirl. I made vegetarian burgers and lemon drizzle cake (amazing recipe), learned about vegetables I had never heard of and saw things that some day I wanted to eat but wasn’t quite open enough to give a chance…yet (like tofu). Every recipe was more delicious and enticing than the last with my personal improved skill.
I’ve moved about three hundred times since then and I no longer have that book and it only just occurred to me as I saw her daughter, Mary, talking about food. How could I have forgotten about that book? I’ll have to pick up a new copy (and her daughter’s new book too).
Anyway, I saw the reporter digging into some eggplant and corn fritters as Mary spoke about how they were her mom and dad’s respective favorites. The “corn fritters” were “Mom’s favorite”.
So, I went into the kitchen and began measuring and mixing, making something I’ve never really made before; corn fritters. A bit of sweet corn, some notes of garlic and savory scallion, paired with an outstanding yet simple dipping sauce. I didn’t have a red chili but couldn’t wait to make them, so I improvised a bit, using some chili flakes, instead. They’re crispy on the outside, sweet and savory on the inside and just even more delicious when dunked into the accompanying sauce. It’s upscale peasant food: simply prepared ingredients without any ego, combined in ways that are exciting yet familiar and fresh.
Now, to go to the bookstore.
Linda McCartney’s Favorite Corn Fritters: Written by Daughter, Mary
An article about the new book: NY Times
The recipe I found from the news website: Source
- 1 cup all-purpose or light spelt flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 large, free-range eggs, beaten
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 cups corn kernels, cut fresh off the cob (or frozen corn, thawed, or canned corn, drained)
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 red chili, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
- 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable or light olive oil for frying the fritters
- For the dipping sauce:
- 6 tablespoons plain yogurt
- ½ small fresh red chili, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley or cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili pepper jam or sweet chili sauce
- ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Combine flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whisk together and then gradually stir in the beaten eggs and milk. Mix until smooth.
- Add corn, garlic, chili (if using), scallions, and herbs, and fold until everything is coated evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan until it is sizzling and hot. I like to place the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil; if bubbles form fairly vigorously around the circumference of the spoon handle, the oil is hot enough.
- Drop rounded tablespoons of batter into the hot oil, spacing them out so they don’t stick. Pat each fritter down a bit so it’s flatter and easy to cook on both sides. Fry until golden brown and then turn it over to brown the other side. This should take about 2 minutes per side. Repeat this process in batches until all the mixture has been cook and transformed into delicious corn fritters.
- Serve while hot: Either immediately, or wrap the fritters in aluminum foil and place in a warm oven until they’re all cooked.
- To make the dipping sauce, just whisk together all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Makes about 12 3-inch fritters.