I’m going to remember this summer as the year lettuce never got cheap. And it’s not just lettuce. The drought here on the west coast (which seems to be ending in a huge rainstorm as I write this) has affected a lot of the produce. Corn seems to be one of the hardest hit. I noticed when I finally got around to buying some — I tend not to buy corn until August, having a lifelong prejudice that it’s not really ready till then — I found small ears, some only half full of kernels, with leaves growing inside the husk. What was there for the eating still tasted as good as ever, but it was sad there was so little of it.
On the bright side, as I was researching a restaurant on the other side of the world, I found deep-fried baby corn on its menu. I wondered why I’d never heard of that in North America, not even as fair food. Eventually I decided that, rather than try to do something new with our pathetic “mature” corn, I’d fry up some of the baby stuff myself.
Besides, baby corn comes in cans, already peeled and everything, though you may have to pull some strings off it.
This is pan-fried rather than deep-fried, and I use a coating based on the fritter batter in Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. If you have any batter left over, you can add it to a batch of pancake batter; they’re much the same.
Editor’s Note: This would be a great dish for Grandparent’s Day, and also check out this article for some ideas for using photos for decorating.
- ½ cup water
- 1 egg
- ½ cup blending flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 can (14 ounces) baby corn
- Drain the corn and set on paper towels, with another layer of paper towel on top.
- Mix together the egg and water.
- Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder and add to liquid.
- Mix till smooth — an electric mixer helps.
- Pour enough vegetable oil into a large skillet to cover the bottom.
- Heat till it sizzles.
- Dip ears of corn, one by one, into the egg/flour batter and carefully put in hot oil. (The less you let them move as you put them in, the better shape they’ll be.)
- After about five minutes, check to see if you can turn one over. If you can, cook the other side for about the same time (it won’t take quite so long).
- Drain on paper towels. Serve hot, maybe with a dipping sauce.