Before the Food Network, there was Public Broadcasting, the place when many people learned to cook. In the late eighties, PBS did a series called, “Great Chefs of the West”. The series came with a nice cookbook entitled,
Southwest Tastes: From the PBS Television Series Great Chefs of the West. The book, edited by Ellen Brown, featured dozens of chefs and wide variety of recipes that featured some of the best flavors of the southwest.
I own two copies of this book. It is one of my all time favorite cookbooks. The second it starts to get warm outside, I start getting the same question: When are you going to make those fritters? “Those fritters” are my favorite recipe in Southwest taste. Officially, they are “Corn Fritters” from the American Grill in Phoenix, Arizona. My variation actually, uses far more cilantro than is called for in this recipe.
2 1/2 pounds whole corn kernels (either fresh cut from the cob, or frozen; do not use canned)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, white part only
1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cups oil for deep-frying
Cook the corn in salted water to cover. When cooked, drain and cool, then puree in a blender or a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Beat in the eggs.
Mix the green onions, garlic, cilantro, and onion together and set aside. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients and spices.
Beat the corn mixture and then the vegetables into the dry ingredients.
In a deep fryer or heavy deep-sided pot, heat the oil to a temperature of 350
F. Using a rubber spatula, push the batter off carefully into the hot fat, about a tablespoon at a time. Fry the fritters until they are a deep golden brown, turning them in the hot fat to brown both sides. Drain on paper towels and keep the fritters warm in a 150 F oven while frying the reaming batter.
The batter can be made up to 3 days before you actually fry the fritters.
Now here’s my shortcut. Put an onion and a clove of garlic into a food processor and pulse till chopped. Continue pulsing to blend and chop as you add the ingredients in the following order: a big bunch of cilantro (more than called for in this recipe), sliced green onions, corn, eggs, finally the dry ingredients. You should have a thick, lumpy batter and only one bowl to wash!
When asked if there was a food that she didn't like, Julia Child stated emphatically --Cilantro. She went on to say that if she saw cilantro she would throw it on the floor and stomp on it.