Monday, March 19, 2007

Mini Corn Cakes with Guacamole


We often find ourselves cooking up tapas or nibbles or afternoon snacks on the weekend. In fact, it is one of my favorite ways to relax. The routine is usually as follows: Go to the gym; eat a late breakfast (for me) or early lunch (for Mike); run errands; hang out with a cocktail and a bite to eat; then go on to whatever we’re doing for the night.

This past weekend took on a similar pattern, except it was even better because we were celebrating our first wedding anniversary on Saturday (the real date is today, but Saturday is a better time for celebrations than Monday). To tide us over until dinner at a romantic Italian restaurant by the water, we made these easy corn cakes. To me, they are an all-American version of blinis, and you can do just about anything with them to create a light appetizer.

If you want to top them with crème fraiche and salmon roe, I think it would be just as appropriate as my southwestern guacamole version. I would also try them with chutney or any variety of fresh or prepared salsa. They would even make a nice crostini for grilled shrimp.

Here are some other variations on corn cakes that I found in the food blogosphere:

Corn Cakes from The Domestic Goddess
Mini Corn Cakes with Avocado and Lime Salsa from The Passionate Cook
Unfried Corn Fritters from Something in Season
Bill Granger's Corn Fritters from The Wednesday Chef
Corn Fritters (made with polenta!) from Fresh Approach Cooking

Mini Corn Cakes with Guacamole
Adapted from this recipe from Foodandwine.com
These corn cakes can be made with either finely ground corn meal or medium ground, if you like a little more crunch. The very coarsely ground corn meal (the kind you might sprinkle on pizza crust) will not have enough time to soften during the quick cooking process. If you are using fresh corn, taste to make sure it is good to eat straight off the cob. If not, you can remove the kernels and cook in the microwave for 1-2 minutes to soften them up and bring out some sweetness.

Makes 24-28 corn cakes

½ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. fine or medium ground corn meal
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
couple of dashes cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 eggs, beaten
1 tbs. water
3 scallions, white and light green parts, minced
1/3 c. fresh corn kernels or frozen, defrosted and patted dry
3 tbs. melted butter
canola oil, for skillet

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. In another bowl, combine the eggs, water, scallions and corn. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.

Coat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet with a thin film of canola oil and heat to medium-high. Place spoonfuls of batter in the skillet to make pancakes about two to three inches in diameter. Cook until lightly browned on the first side, then flip and finish cooking. As you cook more batches, your skillet will get very hot, so lower the heat slightly as you go if the pancakes are browning too much. You can keep them warm in a low oven on a baking sheet covered with foil while you cook all the batter. They will stay warm for awhile on a serving tray covered with foil as well; or, you can make them a couple hours ahead and reheat wrapped in foil in the oven, or in the microwave.

Serve topped with prepared or homemade guacamole, fresh tomatoes and sour cream.


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6 comments:

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

These are beautiful! Just what I wish for everynight about 6 or 7 when we head to the roof deck with our wine.

Lis said...

Happy Anniversary!!

The corn cakes look unbelievably good - a perfect lil snacker - I really like the idea of them as a base for a lil salsa with grilled shrimp. :D

Kristen said...

These look so good. Yummy!

Julie said...

Tanna: I think we're kindred spirits:)
Lis: Thanks! I could really base all my eating around snacks...
Kristen: Thanks for commenting!

Peabody said...

Now that's a great snack!

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