Recipe: Corn Cakes À La Irma Rombauer
Serves 4 (Makes about 16 corn cakes)
Of the thousands of cookbooks I have at home, my copy of an early edition of Joy of Cooking, signed by Mrs. Rombauer, is one of my most beloved. Every cuisine should have a kitchen bible like this— an encyclopedic guide to making all of its most important dishes. No photos, no flash, no tricks, just page after page of no-nonsense recipes. One summer many years ago I pulled over at one of those great roadside stands and bought some amazing silver corn. When I got home, I opened Joy of Cooking, found this recipe, and fifteen minutes later, my family was devouring these incredible little cakes. They make an equally great snack or side dish, or a full meal if you serve them with eggs, which I recommend—try it for breakfast. —José Andrés
1 cup fine stone-ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter, melted
teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup boiling water
½ cup whole milk
1 large egg
2 medium ears corn, shucked, silks removed, and kernels cut off (about 1½ cups)
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Butter or oil for greasing the pan
Cooked corn nuts or corn kernels
Combine the cornmeal, butter, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the boiling water and stir until smooth. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
Whisk the milk with the egg in another bowl, until frothy. Fold into the cornmeal mixture, along with the corn kernels.
Mix the flour with the baking powder in a small bowl, then fold into the batter just until incorporated.
Lightly grease a griddle or a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. For each corn cake, pour ¼ cup of the batter onto the griddle to form a thin cake about 3 inches in diameter; do not crowd the pan. Cook the cakes until bubbles appear on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip the cakes and cook until golden on the bottom, 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. Remove from the griddle and continue to make more cakes.
To serve, garnish each corn cake with a drizzle of honey (if using), a few corn nuts or fresh kernels, and a pinch of Maldon salt.
You could serve these cakes with a dozen different condiments—from fresh mango salsa to guacamole to a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce. I’m a purist, so I eat them as is, but feel free to experiment.
Excerpt from “Vegetables Unleashed” by José Andrés and Matt Goulding. Copyright 2019 by José Andrés. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.