Make this salad and fritters, any number of ways, the star is always the corn.
It’s corn season!
That means corn on the cobb, corn chowder, cornbread, succotash, corn pudding, and corn fritters.
At this time of year, it is not unknown in our house to have a supper that consists solely of corn on the cob, butter, salt.
But we like to play with our food as well, and corn left over from the night before often finds itself in a dish the next day added to salads, soups, omelets, frittatas, or wraps.
This salad is light and refreshing with the flavors of the season complementing each other and you don’t even have to turn on the stove the next day –– I plan it that way. A little thinking ahead gets you out of the kitchen faster in hot weather.
Many ways to serve this
This makes a perfect first course for a special brunch or dinner served in cocktail glasses or plates lined with lettuce. But you can skip the pretty serving altogether and place the salad in lettuce and radicchio leaves as a wrap for a tasty lunch.
Or, serve it on the corn fritters, below, for a corn-on-corn meal any time of day, especially if you then top it with a fried egg. This is a family favorite.
Look for wild crab, it’s worth it
I find Maine rock crab at the local fish market. Its season is from April through September. Fresh and clean tasting, this crab has no preservatives or chemicals to detract from the delicate flavor. It is more expensive than the imported crab from Indonesia and Vietnam, but the flavor is by far superior, and the packing conditions reliable. If you don’t see it, ask your fish monger; often, they have it tucked away in the freezer.
Crab from Alaska and Canada are also good choices. If you find this previously frozen in your market’s fish counter, ask for some that is still frozen. The same goes with shrimp. You don’t know when the shellfish was thawed, so it’s wise to control that yourself.
There’s always a substitute
If you cannot find jicama, use celeriac root or just add more radish.
The corn can be cooked any way you like whether steamed, boiled, roasted, or grilled.
This salad is quick to put together, but you can make it early in the day to give the flavors time to get acquainted.
If you don’t eat shellfish, make this salad with all the other ingredients, it still stands on its own.
Corn and Crab Salad
In a large bowl, place:
- 8 ounces Maine rock crabmeat, or substitute
Check the meat for any little bits of shell, but be careful not to break it up too much.
To this add:
- 1/3 cup corn, cooked
- 1/3 cup purple onion, finely minced
- 1/3 cup jicama, finely diced
- 2 radishes, sliced, not too hot
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- Pinch of lime zest
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp. finely minced Serrano pepper, optional
Mix it all together gently and it’s ready to serve.
You can place this salad on lettuce and radicchio leaves. The radicchio adds a little bitter element to this dish, as well as color and extra vitamins.
Garnish with whatever you have to add more color:
- Parsley, microgreens, minced edible flower petals, etc.
If you can find nice butterhead lettuce, the salad is easy to eat served in the leaves as little wraps.
However, to make this even more of a celebration of corn season, make it a topping on a corn fritter; add an egg, and you have a whole meal.
This serves four as a salad or wraps, or makes eight toppings for the corn fritters below.
Corn is the flavor of August, and this is my go-to fritter recipe. I’ve made it a hundred times, maybe more, with many variations, and it was a favorite of inn guests. If you like, add a little sweet or hot pepper, ¼ cup or so, finely minced. Crumbles of regular or soy sausage is also tasty.
There is just a little flour in this because corn is the star. You can certainly use gluten-free flour here.
Add a half-cup of crabmeat or minced shrimp directly to the batter if you like, but it is even better as a salad served on top.
These are perfect as is. However, some folks like to drizzle a little honey or Vermont maple syrup over them; others like some cheddar cheese grated on top when still hot. It’s all good.
In a small saucepan, sauté:
- 2/3 cup minced purple onion in
- 1 tbsp. butter
Set aside to cool once softened.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine:
- 2 cups cooked corn kernels
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup flour, regular or gluten-free
- ¼ cup minced parsley
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- Large pinch of Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- A few grates of nutmeg
- A few dashes of hot sauce
If the corn is very sweet, you can stop there. If it is not as sweet as you’d like, add a couple of tablespoons of sugar or honey.
Mix everything together gently.
Over medium high, heat a large skillet, I use my cast-iron frying pan for this because it heats evenly. Add whatever your preferred oil, just use one that has a high smoking point like olive or canola. This is pan frying, not deep frying, so just add oil to a quarter inch or so.
Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop the batter into the pan forming little round discs, three or four at a time, leaving plenty of spatula room to turn. The batter is thin, so don’t mess with it until ready to turn.
Cook for a couple of minutes, peek under to see if they have browned enough, then turn. Cook another minute on side two.
You can also make these smaller for little party bites, just use a tablespoon to measure the batter.
Drain on a wire rack for a few minutes, adding a bit more salt while piping hot. The wire rack cooling keeps them crispy.
Top with what you like, drizzle with maple syrup, or just eat as is.
© Copyright 2019 – or current year, Dorothy Grover-Read, The New Vintage Kitchen.
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