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~It's the Season for Savory Sweet Corn & Herb Cakes~

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d213bbbc970cI didn't invent adding cooked corn kernels, savory herbs and/or spices to pancake batter.  Our Native Americans are credited with that, the precursor to our present-day pancakes. They were called "nokchick", translated to mean "no (or not) cake" by the European colonists (who arrived with a host of their own pancake recipes which had existed in Europe for centuries, dating all the way back to the Romans who called them "alita docia", which is Latin for "another sweet".)

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c88a0c3c970bIn the American colonies, pancakes were known as hoe cakes or johnny cakes, and, flapjacks or slapjacks, made with buckwheat flour or cornmeal.  In Amelia Simmon's American Cookery, published in 1796, hoe cakes and johnny cakes used milk, cornmeal and molasses. Recipes for flapjacks or slapjacks dropped molasses and added eggs. George Washington's favorite breakfast was 'pancakes' literally swimming in all-American maple syrup.  By Thomas Jefferson's time, the early 1800's, griddlecakes came into play -- they were lighter due to baking soda invented by French and Belgian chemists. After the invention of baking powder by a British chemist in the 1840's, our modern-day pancake was born.

For my easy-to-make modern-day sweet corn (pan)'cakes: 

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d2139750970c2  cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour

2  teaspoons baking powder

2  tablespoons sugar

1  tablespoon finely-chopped fresh chives (optional)

2  teaspoons fine sea salt

2  teaspoons coarsely-ground black pepper

2  large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork

1 3/4  cups milk

4  cups cooked (boiled or grilled) sweet corn kernels 

corn or peanut oil, for frying pancakes, not butter (Note:  Frying pancakes in butter is just plain wrong.  Just in case you don't know, if you fry pancakes in oil instead, they will fry up with seriously-crispy-and-light doughnut-esque edges.  You can thank me for this tip later.)

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d213a345970c 10.07.11 AM 6a0120a8551282970b01b7c889f339970b 6a0120a8551282970b01b7c889f353970b 6a0120a8551282970b01b8d213a37a970c~Step 1.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, optional chives, salt and pepper.  Quickly whisk in the eggs, 10-15 seconds.  Don't try to thoroughly incorporate eggs. Whisk in the milk.  You'll have a smooth drizzly batter.  Using a spatula, fold in the corn.

Tip about mixing batter:  Allow batter to rest about 5 minutes -- about the time it takes to heat the skillet in the next step.  No matter what anyone else tells you or what you read elsewhere, do not mix your pancake batter any farther ahead of time than that.  In order to save time in the morning, do what I do:  Mix the dry ingredients together the night before, and, mix the wet ingredients together too.  Let the dry ingredients sit on the counter overnight and refrigerate the wet ingredients.  Mix the two together just before proceeding with the recipe as directed below.

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c7ebb3b5970bStep 2.  In a 16" electric skillet, heat a thin, 1/16" coating of oil, not butter, to 350 degrees (medium on my gas stovetop).  Note:  I prefer the electric skillet over the traditional griddle.  It's got a big, flat surface area, which gives me plenty of space to cook and flip 3-4-5-6 even-sized pancakes and it makes heat control a breeze.

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d213a4f5970c 6a0120a8551282970b01b8d213a4f5970c~ Step 3.  Using a 3-ounce (1/3 cup) ladle, add ladlefuls of batter for 5 pancakes to skillet.  Do not overcrowd  skillet.  This batter, because of the chunks of corn, will not spread out on its own. Use a spoon to help it form 5, 4"-round pancakes.

Tips on cooking and flipping:  The heat should be hot enough that you hear and see an initial sizzle around the edges of each pancake, but, not hear or see a sizzle throughout the cooking process.  Sometimes it is necessary to adjust the heat as they cook, but, my skillet never leaves the 325-350- degree range.  Pancakes should not be rushed.  When bubbles rise to the surface, which can take 1-2 minutes, they are approaching being ready to gently flip -- but not quite. Pancakes are ready to flip when the bubbles begin to burst and no or little batter fills the holes back up.  When it comes to flipping, be gentle.  Skip the drama -- don't throw them up in the air or slap them over.  The object of the pancake game is to protect their hole-y-ness.

6a0120a8551282970b01bb092d4732970d~ Step 4.  Cook pancakes, in batches of 5, turning only once, until golden on both sides, about 3-3 1/2 minutes on the first side and 1 1/2-2 minutes on the second, but, once again, time is not as important as those bubbles.  This recipe yields 14 pancakes -- two are missing from the photo.  Joe and I each ate one hot right out of the skillet.

Crispy outside & creamy-corn-kernel-crunchy inside:

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c88a0a9d970bIt's the Season for Savory Sweet Corn & Herb Cakes:  Recipe yields 14 pancakes and 6 servings at 2 corn cakes per person.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; whisk; large rubber spatula; 16" electric skillet; 3-ounce 1/3 cup ladle; nonstick spatula; ordinary tablespoon

6a0120a8551282970b01bb092d5b67970dCook's Note: Skip all the cloyingly-sweet things iHOP offers and pay attention -- there is more than one way to eat a pancake, and it's not just a sugary treat for breakfast or dessert.  Brunch is served, and this savory pancake meal is full of at-their-peak, in-season ingredients, all local, many from my own backyard. Mix a batch of bloody Mary's, sit back, and savor the moment -- My ~ Garden Fresh Corn Cakes topped w/a BLT Salad ~ is a bold-flavored, fresh-tasting way to celebrate the fruit of your Summer garden.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022) 


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