Last Thursday (oh wait, two weeks ago Thursday), Gerrit and I went downtown to the farmer’s market. I feel like a bit of a failure to tell you how much I loved it, and at the same time have to tell you that…Thursday? Not the easiest day to get downtown and motivate yourself to go out in the heat. But every Thursday during the summer there is this farmer’s market here that a downtown church puts on, and once a month the city also has it’s downtown art stroll on the same evening. So it all sounds fun and lovely, until you factor in the part where it is 100 degrees outside.
But I wasn’t going to let that sway me because I was determined not to let the summer get by without several trips down to the farmer’s market/art stroll. And it was fun and hot and all that, but it is one of those moments where you learn who you are. Because the art? Meh. I mean, it was neat, but I also knew I wasn’t going to be spending money on it. The farmer’s market though? Uhm yes, I spent my whole twenty dollar bill, thank you. I couldn’t resist the beautiful $3 basket of potatoes or the okra (fresh okra! in June/early July!) or the fresh-out-of-the-ground-still-attached-to-its-stem garlic. And the goat cheese, too (those people know what they’re doing by handing out samples).
And the fresh corn, which I turned into these corn cakes. These seem quite simple and a bit unpretentious. And that’s because they are. But let me tell you that they are also delightful. Like sweet cornbread pancakes, except fresher, and with basil. We ate these plain, along with our okra and roasted potatoes, and while they were delicious as is, I’d also imagine that some people might like a bit of sour cream or something of the sort for a topping.
They are pretty easy to whip together, and except for the fact that you have to cut the corn off the cob, it is no more complicated to make than your standard pancake batter. And to make it easier on yourself, I see no reason why frozen corn wouldn’t work perfectly for these as well. So whether you can get to the farmers market or not, have access to fresh corn or not, or eventually find this post sometime in the middle of winter, I think you’ll always be able to get a taste of summer with something like this.
adapted from Real Simple Magazine, July 2011
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes (4-6 minutes per batch)
Makes about 8
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 cup corn kernels (about 2 ears)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and pepper. In a separate small bowl (or measuring cup) whisk together buttermilk, egg, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and blend together just until incorporated. Then stir in the corn and the basil.
3. Heat about 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium-sized non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, drop 1/4 cup portions of batter into the skillet. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. As you cook more batches, you might need to add more oil.
4. Serve the corn cakes warm, plain or with a topping of your choice (sour cream, salsa, etc.).