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Off the Cob

Mexican Grilled-Corn Pancakes.

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Since the height of summer, I’ve been enjoying fresh corn in my CSA share every other week, even though Patti doesn’t grow the corn itself. Instead, she trades with a neighboring farm so that her CSA members get one of summer’s essential vegetables.

This corn is a far cry from what you find at the supermarket—full of real corn-y flavor, but it’s not one of those super-sweet hybrids that stays improbably sweet for days on end. In fact, on pick-up days I’ve taken to blanching and refrigerating whatever corn we won’t eat that night, to freeze or use later in the week.

But last week I was inspired by Mark Bittman’s blog to try a new cooking method for all that corn: grilling. Sure, I’d grilled corn on the cob before, but usually just enough for one meal. Bittman, on the other hand, has several good ideas for using leftovers, including corn fritters. His version is meant to evoke Thai flavors, but I wanted my corn pancakes to have all the hallmarks of elote, that delicious grilled corn on the cob sold by Mexican street vendors and slathered in lime, cayenne, and cotija cheese (or in my case, feta, since that’s what I happened to have in the fridge).

I was pretty happy with the results, although I would have liked them a bit crisper. I think I may try using all flour next time instead of Bittman’s cornmeal-flour blend. With all those grilled kernels, these pancakes were plenty corny as it is.

Mexican Grilled-Corn Pancakes

Yields about six 4-inch pancakes

BTW: Since the eggs from my CSA are unusual sizes, a small one was the perfect amount for this recipe. If you only have large eggs, use half of a beaten egg, or use a whole egg and double the rest of the ingredients.

1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grilled corn kernels
1 small garlic clove, smashed
1 small egg
1 lime
1/2 minced serrano
vegetable oil, for cooking
1 Tbs. butter, melted
cayenne pepper
1/3 cup crumbled cotija or feta cheese

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Put 1 cup of the corn kernels, the egg, garlic clove, and juice from half of the lime in the carafe of a blender. Blend until the mixture is a thick puree (not perfectly smooth).

Add the puree, minced serrano, and the remaining 1 cup of corn kernels into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Heat a cast-iron griddle to medium heat and oil it well. Drop roughly 1/4-cup spoonfuls of the batter onto the griddle and cook, turning once, until golden-brown on both sides. Transfer pancakes to a platter, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with cheese and cayenne. Cut the remaining lime half into wedges and serve the pancakes with lime wedges on the side.


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