Alice Waters’ Corn Cakes

  in Main Dishes, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

From Chez Panisse Vegetables

1 1/2 cups masa harina
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
2 ears of fresh corn, about 2 cups*
2 large eggs, separated
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
ghee, clarified butter, or lard for frying

  1. Whisk together the masa harina, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. 
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter with the milk and honey, until the butter is melted. Whisk the mixture until blended. Set aside until cooled a bit, about 5 minutes, then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the milk mixture, the 2 egg yolks, the corn and jalapeño if using.
  3. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and hold their shape, then fold them into the corn mixture.
  4. Heat some ghee, clarified butter, or lard in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Form the dough into patties, about 1 heaping tablespoon each, or however large you want. You may have to wet your hands to do this.
  5. Cook the cakes until browned on the bottom. Flip the corn cakes with a spatula, press down gently with the spatula, and cook on the other side for about a minute, until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining dough. Makes about 16 corn cakes.

* Place a small bowl upside-down inside a large bowl. Then stand the corn on top of the smaller bowl, and use a sharp knife to slice down along the cob.