Mariel here. My mother’s Jalapeno Crab Cakes with Mango Salsa are second-to-none. These snappy morsels aren’t loaded with filler like so many lesser cakes, instead they’re brimming with tender crab and the spice, well it’s just right. Because they’re so chock full o’ seafood, they’re also on the pricey side ($30 and that doesn’t include the mango salsa, which I deem mandatory), so unless I’m feeling particularly flush, I more or less wait for mommy dearest to dish them up. There is such a thing as a free lunch when you co-host a food blog.
Craving these tasty cakes but quite light in the wallet this month, I decided to whip up an alternative that scratches the same itch. Topped with a Sweet Pepper Pineapple Relish, these crispy little Corn Fritters are much simpler and cheaper than my mom’s fancy fare ($8 for the whole kit and kaboodle), but they move and shake in all the right places. They’re a poor man’s crab cake for sure, but I’d gander that you won’t even miss the real thing.
Jalapeno Corn Fritters with Sweet Pepper Pineapple Relish
Makes 18 fritters
Ingredients for Sweet Pepper Pineapple Relish:
¼ cup sweet onion – $0.89
2 ½ cups fresh or canned pineapple. If you use canned, opt for the type in natural juices – $2.39
1 small red bell pepper – $1.22
¼ cup fresh cilantro – $0.99
Juice of 1 lime – $0.25
½ teaspoon salt – stock
½ Tablespoon of honey – stock
Ingredients for Corn Fritters:
1 jalapeno, seeded – $0.75
Kernels from 3 ears of fresh corn (or about 4 cups worth frozen/canned), divided – $1.50
1 egg – stock
½ cup 1% milk – stock
½ cup yellow cornmeal – stock
1 heaping teaspoon of Old Bay – stock
1 teaspoon of minced garlic (about a clove) – stock
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour – stock
Salt and pepper to taste – stock
Corn, vegetable or canola oil as needed – stock
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $7.99
Cost per fritter: $0.44
Directions for Relish:
1. Combine all relish ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse into a thick, chunky relish. Set aside.
Directions for Fritters:
1. In a food processor or blender, combine 2 cups of corn kernels and the seeded jalapeno; process until quite smooth, about 1 minute, stopping machine to scrape down sides, if required.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg and milk until smooth and stir in cornmeal, flour, garlic, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Mix in remaining whole corn kernels and pureed corn. The mixture should be thick and clumpy. If it’s too runny, add a bit more flour.
3. Pour about a ½-inch oil in a deep saucepan or skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Oil is hot enough when a pinch of flour sizzles. Using a spoon, form the batter into fritters about the size of golf balls. Fry until golden brown on both sides – takes about 4 minutes total. Using two spatulas to flip the fritters makes things easier. Transfer to paper towels to drain then serve topped with Sweet Pepper Pineapple Relish.