It is hot and humid in LA right now. This is not normal LA weather, this is Georgia weather. I’ve been sleeping with all the doors and windows open, and I’m still hot (yes, this may also have something to do with the two dogs curled up against me, but still)… Sorry for the diversion from the food, but had to vent since Q has no sympathy since it’s 110 degrees with no fans or AC out in “The ‘Stan.” (Yes, I think it embarrasses Q that I call it that, but oh well I like it).
Back to the food! I made these delicious golden corn cakes yesterday and planned to save them for dinner tonight. But after trying one, they immediately became lunch. I love the way Yotam Ottolenghi cooks, he is an Israeli vegetarian chef based in London and his food is clean and simple and always delicious. This recipe actually came from a feature in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago.
They are light and fluffy, almost like really airy corn pancakes. They get their lift and fluff from egg whites which you beat and beat and beat until soft peaks form (5 minutes and your arm feels like it’s going to fall off). The cakes pair perfectly with a light arugula salad and this became the perfect summer lunch.
Serves 4 (Yields 16 cakes)
- 1/2 cup quick cooking polenta or fine-ground cornmeal
- 1 1/4 cups corn kernels, cut from 1-2 ears of corn (*frozen is fine)
- 1 small shallot, diced fine (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed, diced fine, about 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, roughly smashed (*don’t use cumin powder, get the seeds and use a mortar and pestle like this one to smash them)
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
- 3/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt (*I used 0% and it was fine)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for frying
- 3 eggs, separated
- 4 cups arugula
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (*we added these)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic (*we added this)
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (*For topping)
- 1/4 cup sour cream (*For topping)
- In a large bowl mix polenta with corn, shallots, jalapeno, cumin, salt and pepper. Add yogurt, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 egg yolk (discard the other two yolks). Mix well with fork.
- In a separate bowl, beat all three egg whites to soft peaks. (Takes about 5 minutes). Carefully fold whites into corn batter in two stages (meaning half in one fold and half in another). Let rest 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make dressing. Whisk 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil with lemon juice and balsamic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Set large nonstick frying pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Pour in 1 teaspoon olive oil. Once hot, spoon 2 tablespoons of batter per cake into pan. Repeat until pan is full. Cook cakes 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Flip and cook 1 minute, or until golden. Transfer to paper-lined tray.
- Toss arugula with cherry tomatoes and half of the cilantro. Add dressing and toss again. Season to taste. Serve corn cakes with a spoonful of sour cream and cilantro alongside greens.
Recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi posted in the Wall Street Journal (07/30/11)