I have memories of times when I was little and during the Summer my parents would fry up corn fritters or apple fritters for my brother and I. It wasn’t something that happened often and so the fritters were always a treat. The memory is one of those that lives on in your mind, unnoticed until something triggers it and it comes floating up to the surface. Recently I cleaned out my magazine basket and was flipping through the pages of Family Circle when I came across a recipe for Corn Fritters with Tomato-Corn Salsa. I was instantly taken back to childhood where my brother and I sat in the kitchen anxiously awaiting the fritters my dad was frying in the pan. My mom would deliver one to us with a warning that it was hot and to be careful. It’s funny how different flavors and smells can allow us to travel back in time and relive old memories. Fritters remind me of home, and of family. This is precisely the reason why I tore the page out of the magazine and tucked it into a folder of meals I would like to try this Summer.
Locally grown sweet corn and tomatoes have been on sale in all of the local grocery stores and farmers markets which means now the perfect time to try the recipe. Since I’ve never been one to follow directions I had to change the recipe up a little. Below is my recipe for Spicy Gulf Shrimp with Corn Fritters & Veggie Salsa, adapted from the Family Circle recipe.
Spicy Gulf Shrimp with Corn Fritters & Veggie Salsa
serves 4 (with leftover salsa)
Spicy Gulf Shrimp
1 lb. Large Gulf Shrimp 26-30 ct, deveined, shell on
juice and zest of 2 limes
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 tbsp tequila, (or a little more if you’re adventurous)
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tbsp. red chile powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Whisk together in a large bowl the juice and zest of 2 limes, extra-virgin olive oil, and tequila. Add in garlic, red pepper flakes, chile powder, salt and black pepper. Add shrimp to the bowl, tossing to coat with the marinade. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
When ready to cook, add shrimp and sauce to a non-stick skillet and heat over medium-low. There is alcohol in this dish so be careful to avoid flare-ups. (This is why I use a lower heat level.) Once the mixture starts to simmer around the sides, turn up heat to medium-high and allow shrimp to cook through until bright pink and opaque. Remove from pan and serve. These are also excellent served cold.
3 medium ears sweet corn
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped in 1/4″ dice
1 colored bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/4″ dice
4 green onions, both white and dark green areas thinly sliced
a large handful cilantro, rinsed with large stems removed and chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely minced
juice of 2 limes
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt (more or less to personal taste)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
a few pinches red pepper flakes (more or less to personal taste)
Remove husks and silk from corn. With a sharp knife, slice down the length of cob, reserving the corn kernels in a bowl and discarding the cobs. Remove any large silk strands from the bowl and toss gently to break up kernels. Add lime juice and extra-virgin olive oil to the bowl and stir to coat corn. Add in tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, cilantro and garlic. Toss ingredients together with the corn. Add in salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Set aside to let flavors develop. (For fullest flavor, this is best made a few hours before serving.)
3 medium ears sweet corn
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. red chile powder
1/4 cup canola oil (for frying)
Remove husks and silk from corn. With a sharp knife, slice down the length of cob, reserving the corn kernels in a bowl. Grate the remaining bases of the kernels off of the cobs using a box grater. Be sure to catch all of the mixture and pulp that will drip from the kernels. Combine the pulp with the corn kernels. Add the egg, buttermilk, sugar, salt, black pepper, and red chile powder to the corn. Stir to coat. Sift in the flour and baking soda, add cornmeal. Stir just until mixture comes together. Chill for 15 minutes before frying.
Using a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Spoon the batter using a 1/4 measure into the skillet. Press the fritter gently with a metal spatula to flatten top. After about 2 minutes the sides of the fritter will start to look done. Flip the fritter over using a spatula to cook remaining side. When golden brown on each side, remove to a plate lined with paper towel and pat off excess oil. This recipe makes 8 fritters.
Place 2 fritters on a plate. Top with a large serving of veggie salsa, using a slotted spoon if to drain excess liquid. Arrange at least 6 shrimp per plate around veggie salsa. Dig in and enjoy!
Leftover veggie salsa is great for dipping blue corn tortilla chips and also makes an excellent marinade for a red cabbage slaw. To make slaw: Thinly slice a small head of red cabbage into a bowl. Pour over remaining salsa and liquid. Add a pinch salt and a few dashes balsamic vinegar, toss and let sit for at least 2 hours before serving. This is a great side to grilled chicken!