Fresh summer vegetables and cheese enrobed in an easy buttermilk-cornmeal batter make a terrific meatless main course. Serve with a salad of romaine hearts with chickpeas and a lemon-yogurt dressing.
Corn and Cheddar Fritters with Sauteed Tomatoes
2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
Corn kernels cut from 1 large ear
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup (3.5 oz./105 g.) cornmeal
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) buttermilk
1 large egg
1 cup (3.5 oz./105 g.) finely diced or shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 Tbs. minced fresh basil, plus small leaves for garnish
10-12 oz. (315-375 g.) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add 1/2 of the onion and all of the bell pepper and saute until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the corn and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the corn begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of the cayenne, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir to blend. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and egg; beat with a fork to blend. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Fold in the sauteed vegetables, cheese and the 2 tablespoons basil.
In a clean frying pan over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil. Add the remaining 1/2 cup onion and saute until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and saute until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and then cover to keep warm.
In a clean large frying pan over medium heat, warm a thin film of olive oil. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, use a 1/4-cup (2-fl. oz./60-ml.) measure to add the batter to the pan. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a warmed platter, and cover to keep warm. Divide the fritters between 2 warmed plates. Spoon the tomato mixture over the fritters, garnish with small basil leaves, and serve right away. Makes about 8 fritters; serves 2.
Find more simple, seasonal weeknight recipes in our cookbook Weeknight Fresh + Fast, by Kristine Kidd.