Today’s recipe post was inspired by a recent blog post from national real estate search site Estately, which reported the results of a 50-state survey of internet search histories. According to Estately, Iowans search on the following two terms more than people in any other state: bacon and corn. Hardly a shocking result, since Iowa ranks number one in the nation in both pork and corn production, but it did remind me of a recipe I created a few years ago as a first course for one of my garden dinner parties.
For those of you looking for a recipe for Meatless Monday, sorry to let you down. If it helps, I always look at bacon as more of a seasoning than a meat. After all, everything IS better with bacon.
Corn Cakes with Bacon
- 4 ears sweet corn
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
Cut corn kernels from cobs. Set kernels aside and discard cobs.
In large, heavy skillet, cook bacon over medium-low heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain off excess fat. When cool enough to handle, crumble and set aside.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon drippings from skillet. Add corn kernels, onion, and jalapeno to drippings in skillet, and sauté over medium heat until onion becomes tender and starts to color, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook another minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add crumbled bacon, bread crumbs, egg yolks, parsley, salt and pepper to corn mixture. Using hands, mix to combine thoroughly. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and gently fold into corn mixture with a spatula. Cover bowl and chill for 1 hour.
Shape chilled corn mixture into eight small or four large cakes, each about ¾-inch thick. Place cakes on a plate covered in wax paper and refrigerate for another 30 minutes to 2 hours.
When you are ready to cook, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cakes, one at a time, to hot oil, working in batches as necessary so as not to crowd the cakes. Adjust the heat as needed so the oil is sizzling but not burning the cakes. Cook cakes in hot oil until bottom of each cake is nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes, rotating cakes in skillet so they brown evenly. Turn and cook until second side is brown, about 3-4 minutes longer. Serve hot.
Serves four as a first course.
Serving notes: For my dinner party, I whipped up a little roasted red pepper butter sauce to serve with the corn cakes and paired them with a Chardonnay.