The world doesn’t know a diet without corn. Corn is grown in all 50 states — primarily across the Corn Belt of the US— a region of the Midwest with ideal maize-growing conditions that includes Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and South Dakota, and more than 90 million acres of land are dedicated to planting and harvesting the grain.
It’s also produced on every continent except for Antartica, though the United States is in fact the world’s largest producer and even exports between 10 and 20 percent of its annual production. (Not to mention you can find corn in high fructose corn syrup [which you can find in a lot of things], potato chips, salad dressings, baked goods, alcohol, breakfast cereals, and fuel ethanol.)
Its history has been traced back in the last decade or so to teosinte, a Mexican grass that’s believed to be the parent plant of modern-day corn. Then, over a considerable amount of time, the crop was domesticated by Native Americans and turned into the high-yielding, easy-to-harvest food we know. In particular it has become a cornerstone of Southern cuisine, with dishes like cornbread, hush puppies, catfish or okra that’s battered and fried in cornmeal, corn pudding, and corn fritters.
Traditionally, Southern corn fritters are a sweet and savory snack made with corn kernels, flour, egg, and milk or cream. They can either be deep-fried, shallow-fried, or baked. They can also be stuffed with lump crab meat like chef Joe Krywucki of Bushel and a Peck in Clarksville, Maryland prefers to do. For Krywucki, the crab and corn fritter recipe (which you can find in full below) is the best representation of the restaurant’s Chesapeake Bay inspiration.
Jumbo Lump Crab and Corn Fritters
For the fritters:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon chives
2 eggs, beaten
6 ounces heavy cream
2 cups fresh corn cut off the cob
1 cup Maryland jumbo lump crabmeat
For the chipotle lime aioli:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 ounces chipotle peppers in adobo, pureed
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Step 1: Combine flour with baking powder in a medium mixing bowl then add sugar and a pinch of salt.
Step 2: Combine beaten eggs with heavy cream and add to dry ingredients and mix into a light batter.
Step 3: With a spatula fold in corn, chives, and crab meat. Mix gently while avoiding breaking up the crab meat too much.
Step 4: While the batter rests, make the chipotle lim aioli by mixing all ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
Step 5: Using a sauté pan over medium heat, add enough vegetable oil to coat the pan. Using a ladle or a small portion scoop, add fritter batter and gently press down with a spoon to form a pancake. Cook approximately 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Once cooked on both sides, remove from heat and serve with chipotle lime aioli. Enjoy!