These fritters are baked, not fried, and inspired by my new-found love of Southwest-inspired cooking. This recipe takes a bit of time, but is well worth it. It yields 20-25 fritters–perfect for a party snack!
For the fritters, grab yourself some of these:
- 1 can of prepared black beans (canned in water, with or without salt–but you’ll drain them)
- 2 small ears of corn (if you want to roast them yourself) or 1 cup corn kernels (canned and drained, or frozen and thawed)
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mild chili powder
- 3/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (if you like spicy things)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped fine
- 1/4-1/3 cup cornmeal (it shouldn’t matter too much how finely ground it is)
For the sauce:
- 3/4-1 cup sour cream
- Juice of 1/2 a lime (possibly a bit more)
- 1 1/2 tsp Frank’s Red Hot sauce or another hot sauce of your choosing
If you are roasting your own corn, it will take about 30 minutes in a 350°F oven. All you have to do is lay the ears of corn, with the husks still on, directly on the wire rack in the oven. Make sure that the husks are slightly damp. Roast them and let them cool for at least a few minutes before using them in this recipe.
Next, or while you are waiting for your corn to roast, drain the beans. You can rinse them as well if you want, but they’ll be stickier (which is good!) if you don’t. Process the beans with the onion, lime juice, salt, and spices. Don’t pulverize the stuff, but pulse it so that the beans are broken up a bit, everything mixes in well, and it’s about the consistency of chunky peanut butter (spoon some out of the processor and check for stickiness and cohesion). In order to make sure I didn’t end up with a paste that was too smooth, I used the plastic “blade” attachment instead of the actual metal blade for my processor. See the pictures above for some help with this!
Now put the bean mixture in a bowl. Then, cut the kernels off your roasted corn, or grab your canned and drained/thawed corn kernels, and add them to the bowl along with the cilantro. Mix everything together. Give it a taste, and add any extra spices you think you’re lacking. Actually, you can stop here if you want a really fantastic bean dip!
Now it’s time to “bread” the fritters in cornmeal. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper (or grease the sheet itself, or grease some aluminum foil). Set this aside. Start with 1/4 cup of cornmeal in a bowl, though you may need as much as 1/3 cup in the end. Using a dessert spoon or other small spoon–the rounder the better–scoop up some of the bean and corn mixture and form a ball using a second spoon (see pictures). Drop the ball gently into the cornmeal and roll it once to form a light coating of cornmeal on the outside. Spoon some over any surface areas without cornmeal.
Lay the breaded ball on the baking sheet, and press down gently on the top with a spoon to flatten it out a bit. Try not to let the edges fray as you do this! Make sure they stay together and that none of the kernels are likely to “escape” from the fritters–use your hands to smooth their edges if needed. Repeat this until you run out of the bean and corn mixture, spacing the fritters evenly on the baking sheet (they won’t melt at all, so you can put them pretty close together; plus, the great thing about parchment paper is that you can slide them around easily to make them fit). My fritters were about 1 1/2″ in diameter, and my mixture yielded 23 of them.
Bake the fritters at 350°F for 40 minutes. If you’d like to try and brown the cornmeal a bit, broil them for 2 minutes right after they’ve baked. Be careful not to let them–or the parchment paper–burn if you do this. The finished fritters should be creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside, with a cornmeal crust that stays together.
Last, mix the sauce ingredients together and plate it with the fritters. You should serve these as soon as you can once they’re done, so the insides remain gooey. Mmm!