Apologies for the radio silence; I’ve been in Thailand. Isn’t that a great sentence to be able to write? Photos and Thai-inspired recipes to follow shortly, but for now I am going to share a rare savoury breakfast treat. This brunch is not for the faint-hearted: it’s big, rich, hearty and very substantial. If that puts you off, you’re probably reading the wrong blog. If not, let me get you even more excited. Imagine plump, juicy kernels of sweetcorn whisked into a pancake batter spiked with chopped jalapeño, spring onions and a generous spoonful of blushing paprika. These are fried until crispy on the outside and tender in the middle, and served with bacon, grilled cherry tomatoes and an avocado and mango salsa.
Sweetcorn is – shrewd and original observation here – very sweet. Even when in pancake form, nestled alongside those feisty jalapeños and earthy spring onions, it dominates with its mild sweet flavour. As a result, you need something deeply savoury to accompany these fritters. Salty bacon and the cherry tomatoes perform the job admirably – raw tomatoes would be fine, but drizzling them with a little oil and whacking them under the grill until parts of their skin start to blister and blacken helps to concentrate their intense flavour into a deeply savoury burst of umami-rich goodness.
I would normally serve these with some avocado simply mashed with a little lime juice, salt and coriander, but I had a mango in the fridge so decided to chop that up and throw it in too. It was lovely as a little burst of sweetness alongside the tomatoes and bacon. If you can’t be bothered, just use avocado or even – shudder – shop-bought guacamole. It gives another texture dimension to the dish and also its chalky creaminess is great alongside the sweet fritters and salty bacon. The whole dish has a few components but can easily be put together in about 15 minutes – perfect for a weekend brunch. It’s good for you as well as being very substantial, and makes a nice change from toast or a fry-up.
Sweetcorn jalapeño fritters with grilled tomatoes, bacon and mango & avocado salsa (serves 2):
For the fritters:
- 75g plain flour (I use spelt)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg
- 100ml milk
- 2 cobs of sweetcorn
- 1-2 jalapeño chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper
- Oil, to cook
For the salsa:
- 1 avocado
- Juice of half a lime
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper
- Half a small ripe mango
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
- Cherry tomatoes, drizzled with oil and grilled until blackening
- Fried/grilled bacon
- Lime wedges
To make the fritters, sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and a splash of the milk. Using an electric whisk, whisk the egg into the flour, then add the rest of the milk gradually, while incorporating the flour into the mixture. You should end up with a thick batter. Slice the kernels off the corn with a sharp knife, then add to the batter with the chillies, spring onions, paprika and seasoning. Mix well.
For the salsa, mash the avocado roughly with the lime juice, paprika and seasoning in a small bowl. Add the mango and coriander and mix together gently.
To cook the fritters, heat a little oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a fairly high heat. Add dollops of the mixture to the pan - about a tablespoonful at a time - to make pancakes about 4 inches in diameter. Cook on one side until bubbles start to appear in the mix, then flip over and cook for another couple of minutes. You can cook these in batches - just put the cooked ones on a plate in the oven on a low setting to keep warm.
Serve with the salsa, plus lime wedges, grilled tomatoes and bacon.