I’m a Jersey girl and one thing I know for sure, when it’s hazy, hot and miserable outside, there’s fresh corn to be had. That’s right, it’s in heaping piles from farm stands to supermarkets along with giant trash cans so people can peel away the husks and inspect the kernels. It’s not unusual to saddle up to the corn heap, elbow out your neighbor, rip apart the corn and only buy the good ones. I on the other hand grab and go because this time of year there’s really no bad corn. When I can’t eat one more perfect ear, I make griddle miso corn cakes. They’re as easy as pancakes and the miso gives them a burst of flavor that’s a great addition to any meal.
About miso: Maybe you’ve heard of it but don’t really know what it is or where to find it. The technical definition is miso‘s a Japanese paste made out of fermented soybeans. On it’s own it has a weird salty taste, but as an ingredient, it adds an umami flavor which is hard to describe but let’s just say, the addition of miso makes a lot of dishes taste a lot better. You can find miso paste at Whole Foods in the refrigerator section. Don’t be overwhelmed by the assorted varieties, yellow or white miso is the mildest and best choice for most recipes.
Buying corn: Is there anything better than Jersey fresh corn on the cob? (sorry everyone else, you’ll just have to come visit). But, there is one important thing to remember about fresh corn; the moment it’s picked, the sugars convert to starch. So, you want to buy it, cook it and eat it within hours or the same day it’s picked. Supermarkets around here ship in fresh corn every day. But, if it’s not local or in season, go for frozen, it’s not bad at all!
Goes with: You can go into many different directions with griddle miso corn cakes. How about for breakfast with scrambled eggs instead of toast or lunch with a leafy green salad? They make a great side for dinner next to BBQ salmon or scallion pesto chicken. Here’s another cool idea, make tiny ones (blinis) and top with smoked salmon and crème fraîche to go along with your cocktail (they freeze well too).
Miso Corn Cakes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp yellow or white miso
- ¾ cup white cornmeal
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups corn kernels (from 2-3 ears)
- 2-3 tbsp chopped chives, scallions or garlic scapes
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped (garnish)
- 2-3 scallions, chopped (garnish)
- good quality olive oil (garnish)
- Coarse salt such as Maldon (garnish)
- Place butter in a cast iron skillet over low heat to melt. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk the milk and eggs. Whisk in the melted butter quickly (so the eggs don’t cook), followed by the miso. Add all of the dry ingredients and mix until just combines. Add the corn and chives, scallions or garlic scapes.
- Heat the skillet with the residual melted butter to medium and add about ¼ cup of batter to make a pancake, about 4 per batch. Cook 2 minutes until the tops look dry, then flip and cook 2 more minutes to golden brown. Repeat to finish the batter. Serve with chopped tomatoes and scallions.