Monday, February 11, 2008

Speaking of Fritters

The previous recipe for pineapple fritters is really stretching the definition of fritters. I thought it only proper to give you a real recipe for fritters just for balance. This isn't fancy food and depending on your circumstances the milk may be hot water and the egg may be a wish. These things are called by a bunch of different names...Johnny Cake, Journey Cakes, Hoe Cakes, Corn Pone, Shawnee Cake, Jonikin and more but they are really just a simple fried cornmeal cake. In the South we typically use white corn meal but yellow works just fine... just don't use self rising meal or you'll have cornbread of sorts.

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • 1 tablespoon shortening(of course the traditional shortening was lard but canola oil or even butter will work here)
Mix the dry ingredients, then stir in the remaining ingredients. It is important that the milk is hot as it makes the texture. Drop by the serving spoon full onto a hot, greased griddle or iron skillet and fry to golden brown on both sides. Serve with butter and syrup as for pancakes, or serve as a bread with butter. One traditional Southern way of eating them is to break them into a bowl and cover them with buttermilk and eat them like cereal. Hey, I said it wasn't fancy. This recipe should make enough for 4 to 6 people. Once cooked and cooled these critters keep pretty well and that may be why they are called "journey cakes".

While we are talking about corn fritters there is also a traditional way to use fresh corn to make similar little cakes. These are great when you have fresh corn and can cut it right from the cob. You can use frozen or canned corn as well but something gets lost in the translation.

Fresh Corn Fritters
Beat 2 eggs with a cup of all purpose flour, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp of baking powder(or use a cup of self rising flour and omit the baking powder). Add a cup or so of fresh corn just off the cob(or frozen thawed or canned drained). Fry by the tablespoon full in hot oil until golden.

That is the basic recipe but no one is telling you that you can't add some chopped scallion or jalapeƱo or maybe a dash of chili powder to the recipe. Some grated cheese isn't a bad idea...maybe some sharp cheddar or even Parmigiano Reggiano. No rules.
If you would like to use buttermilk in the recipe then replace half the baking powder with baking soda.

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