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Friday, April 11, 2014

Corn and Smoked Sausage Fritters

Corn and Smoked Sausage Fritters
I would like to personally thank the Sunshine State for sitting pretty with temps in the 80's at the beginning of April. Sure, I may shake my fist at my Florida friends when they share their pics of the Palm trees, foamy waves, and sunny weather map - but that's because I'm jealous.

Take out your violins.

I'm pretty sure that I have a case of seasonal affective disorder going on. Our long, harsh winter was filled with 5-foot mountains of snow-ice (which are decidedly NOT as fun as simple mountains of snow) and unforgiving negative temperatures with even worse wind chills. It seriously is the worst winter that I can recall. And the last of our snow just melted last week. That would be after the first day of Spring. Or as we're calling it in the Midwest, "Spring".

Okay, bows down.

My brother and I enjoying Corn on the Cob circa 1983
So my jealousy is understandable, right? But when I go to the market and find sunny globes of citrus, fire engine red strawberries, AND yellow and white nubbed corn on the cob, it totally lifts my spirits. Now, I actually didn't realize that sweet corn was in season right now in Florida until I was offered the chance to create a recipe using Sunshine Sweet Corn. But it is! Sunshine Sweet Corn hit markets at the beginning of April, and I was first in line to buy a few (okay, 15) ears.

Have I ever told you how much I adore sweet corn? Actually, adore isn't even a strong enough word for how I feel towards it. I've always felt that way. Which is probably why it's impossible for me to make a small batch of it at once. That, and the fact that my family feels the same way.

 Note the major corn-love going on in this photo of my brother and I circa 1983. 

One of our favorite warm weather pastimes is sitting around the fire pit eating hot, just from the fire, corn on the cob.  I have several buckets full of cobs once it's time to douse the last of the embers. In otherwords, saying yes to developing a recipe that featured this super-sweet corn was a no-brainer.
Corn and Smoked Sausage Fritters
I decided to combine this favorite of mine, with a few of the things that I associate with grilled corn on the cob: sausage, beer, and mustard. Only, with a twist! By grilling (or grill panning) the sausage and corn, I was able to mimic those flavors that I love and then put them into a fritter! The beer and mustard came into play in the dipping sauce.

Corn and Smoked Sausage Fritters with Mustard-Beer Dipping Sauce
Fritters studded with grilled smoked sausage and sweet corn are like little airy bites of Summer. Served with a Mustard-Beer dipping sauce.
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Corn and Smoked Sausage Fritters
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: fry grill appetizer entree snack nut-free soy-free corn sausage beer mustard

Ingredients (yield: 40 fritters + 1 cup sauce)
    for the fritters:
    • 8 ounces skinless smoked sausage, cut in half lengthwise
    • 3 ears of Sunshine sweet corn (~1-1/2 cups kernels when cut from cob)
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    • 2 large eggs, separated
    • vegetable or canola oil, for frying
    • fine sea salt, for sprinkling
    for the Mustard-Beer dipping sauce:
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 cup beer (your favorite)
    • 3 tablespoons honey
    • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
    • few dashes hot sauce
    • big pinch sea salt
    • big pinch ground black pepper
    making the Corn and Smoked Sausage Fritters
    Heat a grill pan over high heat until smoking hot. Place the smoked sausage in the pan, cut side down. Grill for 2-3 minutes, or until you have nice dark grill marks on one side. Flip and repeat. Remove to a dish. Slick the corn with just a bit of oil and set in the pan. Cook 3-4 minutes total, turning from time to time. It will not be cooked all the way through, it will just pick up a little color and flavor. Add to dish with sausage. Allow both to cool to room temperature. Dice the sausage into 1/4" pieces. Cut corn kernels from cobs.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk and egg yolks. Whisk them together, then combine with dry ingredients. Fold in the sausage, corn, and parsley.

    In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks then fold it into the batter.

    In a large deep-sided pan, heat 2-inches of oil to 325° F. Line a baking sheet with a couple layers of paper toweling.

    While the oil is heating, whisk all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce together; set aside.

    Drop heaping tablepoons of batter into the hot oil and fry, flipping halfway, until golden brown, about 2 minutes (do not over-crowd the pan, do this in batches if necessary). Lift the fritters out of the oil and set on the paper towel-lined tray. Immediately scatter with some salt. Serve warm with dipping sauce.
    Corn and Smoked Sausage Fritters