When I was a little girl of about 7 years old involved in Girl Scouts, I vividly remember taking a field trip to a state park with my troop. We hiked and learned about different plants and at the end of the trip, there was an open-fire cooking demonstration. This would have been the early 80s, so looking back I can only assume that the park guide who was cooking for us had roots firmly entrenched in the hippie era. I remember him sauteing dandelion flowers in butter on a cast iron griddle. We all got to taste them, and they were sweet and salty and just plain delicious. He also made us Johnny Cakes, or quite simply, cornmeal pancakes. Heartier than their wheat flour cousins, these cakes were dense and buttery. Of course, the exotic “cooking in the woods” setting sticks out in my memory 30 some years later, but the taste of those cornmeal pancakes is something I have always wanted to duplicate.
That is just what I tried to do here in this recipe. I also added some extra texture by using fresh sweet corn off the cob and added some extra depth of flavor by using some grated sharp cheddar cheese to the batter.
I made these with Little Miss 7-year old, who just moved up from Daisy Scouts to Brownies this year. I’m hoping that I’ve made an impression on her with these just like that burly camp guide made on me at the same age. She enjoyed helping me mix these together and watched them puff up before being flipped in the pan. She also said to me, “Mom, I’m sorry if I ever judged your cooking before.” This whole going gluten free thing has deeply affected her and she is trying so many more foods and enjoying a wider variety of healthy things to eat. I have been so impressed by her maturity, too.
To round out this meal, I laid the corn cakes on a bed of baby spinach with some veggies. I mixed up a little mayo with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and paprika and threw in some chopped fresh chives to use as a dressing. It was delicious! There are so many other possibilities for these though. Why not top them with a sunny side up egg or add some crumbled bacon to the batter? Mmmm!
What you need to make 10-12 Corn Cakes:
Two small to medium sized ears of corn
One Cup of cornmeal
1/2 Cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 Tablespoons melted butter
Two large eggs
1/4 Cup potato starch
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup milk
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Cut the kernels of corn off of your two ears of corn into a bowl. With the back of your knife, scrape down the corn cobs to remove as much corn milk as possible from the cobs, too.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the corn kernels and stir. Add the grated cheddar, milk, and eggs, and mix until incorporated. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter into the bowl while mixing the batter. Allow your batter to sit for a few minutes before frying up your corn cakes.
In a heavy bottom skillet or cast iron skillet, add a pat of butter and bring pan up to medium high heat. Once butter starts to sizzle, add about 2-3 Tablespoons of batter per cake to the pan. Wait until bubbles start to form before flipping over to cook the other side. This will take a few minutes. Fry on the other side for 1-2 minutes longer and transfer to a plate while cooking your other cakes.
Enjoy over greens, with a fried egg, or just by themselves.