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Corn Fritters

Corn has acquired something of a bad reputation in recent years. It's one of the few genetically modified food crops, and a huge percentage of the nation's corn crop either goes into the mouths of feedlot livestock or into processed foods. Additionally, it is usually farmed in monoculture, and it requires vast amounts of water, pesticides, and herbicides to do well.

But it is still possible to find heirloom corn grown in a responsible manner. I highly recommend that you scour your local farmer's market for fresh corn this time of year. It will taste better than supermarket corn, for one. After corn is picked, its sugars begin to convert into starch, meaning that corn that sits around for a while after being picked will not be as sweet and may even be unpleasantly starchy.

If you're still worried about accidentally buying GM corn, look for organic corn. Currently, organic corn cannot be genetically modified. Many small farmers are not certified organic because of the fees and paperwork involved in becoming certified, but it always pays to ask questions. Many small, conscientious farmers use organic growing methods without being certified, and they will be able to tell you how they grew their corn and what variety it is.

It's hard to do anything with peak-season corn except eat it greedily off the cob. I hear the occasional corn-on-the-cob naysayer, citing various reasons why they can't abide it--corn in their teeth, for instance. But frankly, that's what toothpicks are for.

However, even those of us who can barely wait to bite into those big, juicy ears of condensed sunshine are appreciative of the occasional riff on this beloved summer vegetable.

The corn fritter is one of my favorite corn dishes. It's painfully simple and lets the sweet, bright flavor of fresh corn shine. You can do as little or as much to corn fritters as you like. This time, I added a red Fresno pepper (you could use a red jalapeño or even minced red bell pepper instead) and some scallions, but that's not necessary.

Serve corn fritters sweet or savory. They pair nicely with maple syrup and butter, but they could just as easily be served with sour cream or relish. You may, in fact, enjoy them so much that you don't feel the need to serve them with anything. They're that good.

Other articles you might enjoy: Summer Corn Salad, Salsa Frecsa With Corn, Ratatouille With Sausage and Corn

Corn Fritters
Makes about twelve 3-inch fritters

Scrape from the cob into a bowl:
            2 1/2 cups corn kernels (about 4 to 5 ears)
Stir in:
           (1/4 cup finely chopped scallion)
            (2 tablespoons minced red pepper)
            2 large egg yolks
            2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
            1/4 teaspoon salt
Whip in a medium bowl until stiff:
            2 large egg whites
Fold into the corn mixture.
Heat in a large skillet over high heat:
            2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
Drop in the batter 1 heaping tablespoon to 1/4 cup at a time (I used a large spoon--you can make these as small or large as you like), without crowding. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcook. Serve immediately.

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