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Recipe: Corn Fritters With Pesto Sour Cream and Heirloom Tomatoes | Cooking in Season

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape

We’ve just heard that Vermont-grown corn has started making its sweet appearance at local farmstands and farmers markets. That means it’s really summer now.
Our summer Cooking in Season column is all about corn with three recipes from Vermont chefs. Here we share the recipe for delicious, buttery light corn fritters from chef and co-owner Emily Wilkens of Black Krim Tavern in Randolph.
For a wonderful corn, black bean and mango (or local peaches, if you can wait for those) salad from the Woodstock Farmers Market or a Cherry Cornmeal Cobber (which features cornmeal) from the team at Fletcher Allen Healthcare, go pick up a copy of the summer issue or subscribe at

Corn Fritters with Pesto Sour Cream and Heirloom Tomatoes

Adapted from chef Emily Wilkens, Black Krim Tavern, Randolph

Photo by Andrew Wellman.

At Black Krim, Emily Wilkens makes these fritters with roasted corn kernels and local cornmeal and serves them with a chipotle aioli and queso fresco along a southwestern theme. This version focuses on the classic pairing of basil, corn and tomatoes for something slightly different. They would make a lovely appetizer, lunch or light supper and the fritters are delicious with maple syrup or honey-butter for breakfast or brunch, too.

For pesto sour cream:

¼ cup basil leaves, packed
5 to 8 scallions (depending on size), white and light green parts finely chopped to measure about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup sour cream

For corn fritters:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine or medium coarse-ground corn meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 egg, separated
1 cup milk (any fat level)
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 cobs), or frozen corn, thawed and blotted dry

Vegetable oil and (optional) butter to fry

To serve:
Assorted heirloom tomatoes, diced in various sizes
Greens such as arugula or mesclun mix
First, make pesto sour cream: In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, pulse together the basil, scallions, peanuts, garlic, salt and lemon juice until finely chopped, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary between pulses. With the motor running, gradually pour in the oil until the mixture is emulsified. Scrape down the sides again, add the sour cream and pulse briefly to combine. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and chill until serving.

To make corn cakes: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal, baking powder and salt. Whisk the egg yolk and the milk into the melted butter. Mix the yolk mixture into dry ingredients. In a small bowl, using a whisk or handheld mixer, beat the egg white until soft peaks form. Fold the egg white and the corn into the batter just until combined. Set a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat and heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon butter (or all oil if you prefer) until it’s hot enough that a tiny drop of batter sizzles. Reduce heat to medium and scoop 2 tablespoons of batter at a time into the hot pan to make 2-inch fritters. Fry like pancakes, about 2 to 3 minutes a side, flipping when bubbles appear on top of the fritter. Repeat, adding oil and butter as necessary to pan, until all the batter is used up. Keep the cooked fritters warm in a low oven if desired. Serve the fritters on greens, garnished with tomatoes and the pesto sour cream. Makes about 24 2-inch fritters, enough to serve 4 to 6 as a main course.

Melissa Pasanen

Melissa Pasanen

Contact Melissa Pasanen at and follow her on Twitter at

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