Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Probably the Most Dangerous Thing I've Ever Cooked: Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Fritters

For all of us who cook a lot, we know that there are some things that are hazardous to make, like anything with melted sugar or flaming alcohol. I remember when I made Julia Child's Coq au Vin, setting a match to that brandy made my hair stand on end. Little did I know that was child's play (yes, pun intended) compared to the corn fritters I'm talking about today.

I had originally intended on making these with canned corn, but the fresh corn is so delicious this time of year, I decided to use it, not taking into account what the moisture inside of the kernels might do when it hit the super hot oil in my Fry Daddy. Be forewarned, you should probably wear clothes you care nothing about, you must have an apron, long sleeves and a splatter screen (eye protection wouldn't hurt either) and all bystanders (including the dog) should clear the area before you begin cooking these bad boys because they do pop.

Don't have a stomach for danger? You can leave out the corn, just be sure to back off on the milk a bit, adding a little at a time until you get a super thick batter that will still slowly slide off of the spoon into the hot oil. For all this trouble and excitement you will be rewarded with crispy, crunchy nuggets that are perfect with a tomato based soup, chili, or best of all, all by themselves with a cold beer while sitting on the back deck observing the neighbors.

Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Fritters

4 slices bacon, drippings reserved
2 ears fresh sweet corn (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup self rising corn meal (white or yellow) or 1 cup regular and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 small onion, grated
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk

Place bacon in a medium size frying pan over medium heat and cook until just shy of crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to cool before chopping; set aside. Reserve drippings.

Cut corn from the cob (see my favorite new way of shucking corn by watching this video) and place in a medium size bowl. To the corn add the flour, corn meal, sugar, onion, bacon, Old Bay, black pepper, salt and grated cheese. Stir the ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add to the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings; set aside.

Heat oil in a small deep fryer or enough in a medium size frying pan to come to about 1" up the side of the pan. When oil is approximately 350 degrees, or when a bit of batter dropped into it sizzles and quickly floats to the top, it is ready for frying. Drop batter one tablespoon at a time into the hot oil, cover with the splatter screen and stand back baby.

Using your splatter screen as a shield for your tender parts, carefully turn fritters to make sure they get cooked on both sides. Once they are golden brown on both sides (this will only take a couple of minutes), remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately while they are warm.

To reheat and crisp up leftovers, place in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 8 - 10 minutes or until they are heated through.

Makes approximately three dozen fritters.

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