As much as I sometimes lament that I miss the change of seasons that I grew up with (and the produce that comes with that…berries, oh how I miss berries), there are some definite perks of living in a hot climate. Some of that summertime produce has found its way to Thailand and is available all year. We eat sweet, bright red watermelon any time we want it, and fresh herbs of every sort are sold by the bundle for just a few cents. Sweet corn, too, is almost always available.
In full disclosure, sweet corn is one of those things that I believe tastes so good because of the anticipation..it’s the knowing you can only get it for a few fleeting months. Growing up in Kansas, I waited all summer for corn so sweet that I could eat it straight off the cob with nothing else. One of my favorite summer lunches has long been a spinach salad with tons of fresh raw sweet corn and avocado slices.
All of that is to say that the corn here is good, but never quite as good as in a place where you wait for it all year long. I do, however, cook with fresh corn often these days. I’m discovering that it adds so much to so dishes that I might never have explored if I didn’t have such an abundance of the stuff.
It was with this in mind that I came across these Mexican Corn Cakes for this month’s Secret Recipe Club. Kate’s blog, Kitchen Trial and Error, is full of great ideas for simple, creative dinners. These corn cakes caught my eye because I had never had anything like them. I do, however, love anything that can be topped with a poached egg and called dinner.
These were the perfect vehicle for a tasty combination of eggs, avocado, and a quick, fresh salsa. I used fresh corn, but the original recipe calls for frozen, which makes this a light, fun dinner year-round. It’s certainly one I’ll be making again.
Note on Baking: The first time I made these, I tried baking the corn cakes instead of cooking them in oil on the stove top. Not surprisingly, the version below was a clear winner. When pan-fried, the outside gets caramelized and sweet while the inside stays tender. However, the baked version were worth mentioning. I baked them at 400 degrees on a greased baking sheet for about 25 minutes, turning them over halfway through baking. Not as crisp, but still delicious.
- 1½ cups cornmeal
- ½ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup grated cotija or queso fresco cheese (omit for vegan corn cakes)
- 2 cups frozen corn
- ¾ to 1 cup water
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- poached eggs
- sliced avocado
- simple salsa (made with chopped tomatoes, red peppers, red onions, cilantro, and lime)
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the cheese and corn and mix just until combined. Add the water, ¼ cup at a time, and stir until the mixture holds together.
- Shape the mixture into 12 evenly sized cakes, pressing gently until the mixture stays together. Place the cakes on a cutting board or plate.
- Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the first batch of corn cakes until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown.
- Serve the corn cakes warm, topped with avocado, poached eggs, and simple salsa.