Strawberry Salad and Corn Pancakes

July 20, 2009

Elizabeth, Amrita and baby Lucien came over for brunch on Friday. It was a perfect opportunity for me to try out a new recipe I tore out of this month’s Gourmet magazine: fresh corn pancakes. One of the things I positively adore about summer time is the appearance of fresh, sweet corn in the markets. I’ll buy a few ears at the farmer’s market or at my local Korean grocery round the corner, but it is rare that the corn ever actually makes it into a cooking pot because I munch the kernels raw off the cob or slice them off into salads. This recipe for pancakes is quite simple, except for the extra step of blending a half cup of corn kernels with milk before adding other ingredients to make a batter. Unless I am making a soup or puree, my heart tends to sink when I see “blender” in a recipe—this means the machine will need to be hauled out of the cupboard, assembled, used, and then washed and put away.


I might have to play with the recipe in the future and see how it turns out without the blending. As it was, it was delicious—a piping hot cake of light, doughy goodness filled with generous mouthfuls of tender, just-barely cooked corn kernels that still had a bit of crunch to them. All this slathered with sour cream and a crisp, not too spicy tomato salsa. When next I make these cakes, I think I will try adding a handful of chopped cilantro for some more colour.


One of my other favourite summer dishes is a salad with fresh strawberries. Since I won’t buy a fresh tomato until they hit the farmers market or come up in my garden, strawberries in season are a welcome addition of colour, flavor and juiciness to a standard salad. My quickest concoction involves a mix of lettuce and whatever tasty salad greens are in the garden (arugula, baby spinach, mache), about a cup of sliced strawberries, a sliced cucumber, the raw kernels off an ear of corn, and a handful of toasted pecans. If I’m making a meal of it I’ll add some sliced roast chicken to give it some protein. Dress with a generous drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper. For brunch with A, E and baby L I used toasted pinenuts instead of pecans, skipped the corn, added a bit of goat cheese, chopped in some fresh mint and made a proper vinaigrette.

And of course I was trying out a new cupcake recipe: a luscious banana cake with a cream cheese frosting topped with walnuts. The secret to these lovely cakes is sour cream, butter and lemon peel. Am definitely offering these for order on the website.


Fresh Corn Pancakes (adapted from Gourmet Magazine, July 2009. )

1 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3 ears of corn
3/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and 1 tsp salt in a medium bowl. Cut enough kernels from cobs to measure 2 cups. Using back of a knife, scrape pulp from cobs and transfer to a blender with milk and 1/2 cup corn. Purée until smooth, then strain through a sieve into another medium bowl, pressing on and then discarding solids. Whisk in eggs, oil, and butter. Add to flour mixture with remaining 1 1/2 cups corn and whisk until just combined.

Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat until hot, then lightly brush with oil or butter. Working in batches, pour 1/3 cup batter per pancake onto griddle and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook until undersides are golden-brown, about 1 minute more
Serve warm with salsa and sour cream, or for a sweet, with warmed maple syrup.

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