Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sweet Corn Pancakes with Mt. Tam Cheese

I apologize. I really thought I'd shared this recipe back in the summer months when I took this shot but then my husband brought it to my attention that I have not. I beg for your forgiveness.

I really wish I'd stacked the pancakes for this picture, but, like I said I took it back when the sun was still hot and now there is no going back. I mean, I could make these puppies again so I could retake the shot but I'm out of town and I won't get home until late Sunday night and then I'd have to grocery shop for ingredients and make the meal and it'd be before the end of the week for sure that I could make all that happen. And frankly, the pancakes are just so delicious I couldn't withhold the recipe another minute.

This summery dish is fresh on my mind, not because it's summer, but because I'm currently in San Francisco where I first tasted them. I must confess I have a major food crush on this guy, Stuart Brioza. Both Graham and I do, actually. He's the chef mastermind behind these savory morsels. I'm beginning to feel a bit like his stalker because we keep showing up at his restaurants, all the way from Seattle, somehow managing to talk to him personally, giving rave reviews and singing his praises and then getting special treatment. But, really, who doesn't like having their praises sung? So we continue to stalk him and I tell myself he loves it so that I feel better.

But I digress. We first tasted his sweet corn pancakes when we visited his restaurant State Bird Provisions back in 2012, shortly after it was named "Best New Restaurant in America" by Bon Appetit Magazine (it was). I posted on my personal blog about our experiences here and here, because we did go twice after all. All of his food was to die for so we were delighted when, nearly a year later, we received our July 2013 Food and Wine Magazine and found he made his pancake recipe known to the public. And I was even more delighted when my local Trader Joe's began carrying the very Mt. Tam cheese his recipe calls for. Of course, any triple-cream brie will do but this one is particularly divine).

I have adapted his recipe ever so slightly (ok, I just swap out 1/2 cup of white flour for whole wheat to appease the dietitian in me and make them a smidge healthier). Though ordinarily I would say frozen sweet corn could be substituted for fresh in most recipes, this is not one of them. Honestly, you're better off filing this away and waiting for summer if you can't find any fresh (sorry). These should certainly become your go-to summer appetizer but I've also been known to serve them as a starch and sometimes even a main dish with a little bit of salami and a salad on the side. Oh and fair warning: you might want to make a double batch. They go quickly!!

Sweet Corn Pancakes with Mt. Tam Cheese
(adapted from Stuart Brioza)

3 large ears of corn, shucked 
1 large egg, lightly beaten 
1 1/4 cups water 
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions 
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more as needed 
2 ounces triple-cream cheese, such as Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tamor St. AndrĂ©, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
Freshly ground black pepper 

In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the corn until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool completely, then cut the kernels off the cobs. 

In a large bowl, beat the egg with the water. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder over the egg and whisk until a batter forms. Stir in the corn kernels and scallions. 

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the 1/4 cup of canola oil until shimmering. Spoon a scant 1/4 cup of the batter into the skillet for each pancake and cook over moderate heat until browned on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the cakes and top each with a piece of cheese. Cook until the cheese just starts to melt and the corn cakes are cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the corn cakes to a serving platter and season with black pepper. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm. 

To make ahead: prepare the batter and refrigerate (overnight if needed). Stir in the corn and scallions before cooking.

Serves 4-6 first-course servings

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posted by kelsie