In Love, With Fresh Corn Pancakes

July 7, 2009


Breakfast, Holidays, TASTE Archives

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Buckets of rain / Buckets of tears / Got all them buckets comin’ out of my ears. / Buckets of moonbeams in my hand, / I got all the love, honey baby, / You can stand.

I been meek / And hard like an oak / I seen pretty people disappear like smoke. / Friends will arrive, friends will disappear, / If you want me, honey baby, / I’ll be here.

Like your smile / And your fingertips / Like the way that you move your lips. / I like the cool way you look at me, / Everything about you is bringing me / Misery.

Little red wagon / Little red bike / I ain’t no monkey but I know what I like. / I like the way you love me strong and slow, / I’m takin’ you with me, honey baby, / When I go.

Life is sad / Life is a bust / All ya can do is do what you must. / You do what you must do and ya do it well, / I’ll do it for you, honey baby, / Can’t you tell?


There are few things better than cooking for a party that ends with a booming display of fireworks and the requisite swelling of pride and patriotism. That said, making use of leftovers in the following day is equally pleasing in its own humble way. I guess it works best when the house is full of people you love: a visiting fiancé who has to leave that very afternoon, a sister who took the train in from New York instead of going to some schmancy party on Long Island, a mom and pop with summer time to spare, and a dear old family friend named Olga, who eats anything, as long as it' s not green.

We spent a sunny afternoon in preparation for the 4th of July party, chopping, mixing, marinating and the like. At around 3 pm, Christopher and I took brown paper bags out to the dock and shucked upwards of twenty ears for a corn salad, doing our best to keep the shaking dog and her lake-water-dewiness at bay. Next, we hauled our gilded logs and their empty husks to the picnic bench on the porch and sheared the kernels into bowls, though they were worthy of a much larger vessel. (Got all them buckets comin' out of my ears / buckets of corn kernels in my hands.)

There was truly an abundance of corn: corn so sweet you could literally gnaw it raw from the ear, which we did for respite from the shucking and hair pulling. It' s amazing to me that each kernel has its own fine strand—the vehicle for its pollination. Despite my fascination with maize-mating, it can be quite tedious to pull every one of those fine little hairs from the tight rows of plumped up kernels, especially when you' re dealing with a couple dozen cobs.

It was a labor of love, and when it was all over, it felt like a real treasure. So much corn, so many sated friends, such a display of fireworks. “America!”I shouted, and I meant it, thinking of our beloved president and, oh, the place we' ll go. But the magic truly began when all the guests left, and only the Cowles plus one remained on the dock. Christopher, ducking into the house for more beers, somehow knew to win our hearts with Blonde on Blonde. Out came a crooning Dylan, loud enough to drown out the neighbor' s bad musical selection, and leaving us to bundle together and reminisce as the fire pit glowed against the lake. We all knew we were in love—not just me.

And even though Christopher has been here so many times before, the thought of sending him off with a plain old granola breakfast or some standard eggs and bacon was beyond heartbreaking. So I took to the pint of kernels I' d saved to make a very special batch of pancakes, for a very special Sunday morning. These are summer flapjacks at their finest—put away your blueberries and give these a go.

Fresh Corn Pancakes

Adapted from Gourmet: yields about 12 pancakes

1 c all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp Turbinado sugar (or white)
1 tsp kosher salt
3 ears of just-plucked, local corn
¾ c whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ c pure maple syrup, warmed in a skillet with a pad of butter


Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium bowl.

Cut 2 cups worth of corn kernels. Transfer ½ c kernels to blender and puree with milk until smooth.

Strain through a sieve into a large bowl, pressing out as much liquid as possible, then discarding solids.

Whisk eggs, oil and butter into the milk. Add flour mixture with remaining corn and whisk until just combined.

Working in batches, pour dollops onto a hot, generously buttered griddle. Don' t be afraid of the butter here: add about half a tablespoon each time you start with a new batch. You want the melted butter to run around the edges of each cake, rendering it crispy and golden.

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