Corn Pancakes and Smoked Salmon
When fresh corn floods onto the markets in early July, we enjoy it first as corn-on-the
cob. But by August, after we've had our fill of corn-on-the-cob, we start thinking about
other ways to enjoy it during the rest of the corn season. We've experimented with cold
salads using cooked corn kernels mixed with chopped red peppers, red onions and cilantro,
baked corn pudding and corn pancakes.
Here's a light Sunday Supper built around delicate and light corn pancakes. We used
these corn pancakes in a composed dish alternating them with pieces of smoked salmon
around the perimeter of the plate and with a salad of cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced
cucumbers in the center. This is very simple summer Sunday Supper.
First prepare the salad:
- If you are using a cucumber that has been coated with wax,
remove the wax coating with soap and hot water first. Don't peel it.
- Using a mandolin, slice the unpeeled cucumber on the thinnest setting.
- Put the cucumber slices in a colander and sprinkle them generously with salt. Let them
drain for about 30 minutes to extract the water. Rinse thoroughly to remove all the salt,
then lightly squeeze the slices in your hands to remove all excess water. The slices will
be somewhat limp.
- Wash the cherry tomatoes, cut them into quarters (a combination of red and yellow is
very pretty in this dish) and mix them with the prepared cucumbers.
- To make the dressing, incorporate 6 TBS of olive oil into 2 TBS sherry vinegar, add a
pinch of powdered allspice, a pinch of powdered cumin and a large pinch of cayenne. Adjust
the seasoning to your taste and mix the dressing into the tomato and cucumber salad. Let
sit it until ready to serve.
Then prepare the corn:
- Husk 2 large ears of white or yellow corn and remove all the corn silk by rubbing it
vigorously with both hands under cold running water.
- Cut a small piece off the pointed end of the cob so it can stand flat on a counter.
- Hold the cob firmly on the counter (flat side down) and using a sharp knife, cut the raw
kernels off the cob, starting from the stalk end and cutting down. Rotate the cob after
each pass of the knife.
- Process the raw kernels in a food processor until they are homogenized.
- Blend in 2 TBS flour, one egg, ¼ cup of sour cream, ½ tsp baking powder, a few
gratings of nutmeg and salt.
- Cook the pancakes on a hot, generously-buttered griddle.
- Cut the smoked salmon slices to be about half the size of each pancake.
- Arrange the pancakes and slices of smoked salmon in overlapping
layers around the plate. If you have made small pancakes, you might have 6 pancakes and an
equal number of salmon slices.
- In the center of the plate, arrange a pile of the tomato and cucumber salad.
- Sprinkle the entire dish with very thinly sliced green onions, cut on the diagonal.
- Cucumbers: If you are using a large, older
cucumber, it would be better to first cut it in half lengthwise and to remove the seeds
with a rounded teaspoon before slicing on the mandolin.
- Limp: By removing the excess water from the
cucumbers, they are able to absorb more of the dressing and carry more flavor. The limp
texture also acts as a nice foil against the cherry tomatoes. However, if you prefer, the
crunch of fresh cucumbers, you can skip this step and cut them into pieces equal in size
to the quartered cherry tomatoes.
- Salmon: The smoked salmon will start to
"cook" a bit once it's overlapped with the pancakes, especially if the pancakes
are still quite hot. So you should be ready to do the final assembly quickly and to serve
- Pancakes: These pancakes are very tender, so you
shouldn't try to turn them until the top is well set. Even then, turning them is a
delicate process. The smaller the pancakes, the easier they'll be to turn. You can add
more flour than shown in this recipe. That will make them stiffer and easier to turn, but
it will also make them cakey. I prefer to trying to use a delicate touch to turn them
rather than adding more flour.