Corn and Crab Fritters With Lemon Mayonnaise

Corn and Crab Fritters With Lemon Mayonnaise

Fritters were always a big part of the cuisine in my native southern Africa. As a kid, I remember we had all kinds- pumpkin fritters, banana fritters with brown sugar for dessert, and of course these corn-and-crab delights. They are unbelievably delicious, and can be prepared in advance and warmed up just before serving. The lemon mayonnaise, which can also be prepared in advance, provides just the right element of flavor and teture contrast. 

  • 2 ears yellow sweet corn (or 1 cup frozen kernels, thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound fresh lump jumbo crabmeat (picked over to make sure no fragments of shell remain)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for pan-frying (about 1 cup)
  • Lemon mayonnaise (recipe follows)

1. Cut the kernels off the ears of corn using a sharp kitchen knife.

2. Place the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low head. Add the onion and corn and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onion is soft.  Remove from the head and set aside to cool.

3. To prepare the dough, combine the flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add the milk slowly while stirring with a whisk; mix until smooth. Add the corn-onion mixture and the crab, and mix well. Add the eggs, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper, and continue mixing until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, allowing the dough to set.

4. In a deep pan or cast-iron pot over medium flame, heat ¼ inch of oil until it just begins to smoke. While the oil is heating up, scoop up a tablespoon at a time of the dough and form flat patties. (They may be somewhat amorphous, but they will firm when fried.) Using a large slotted spoon or spatula, slide the patties into the oil, one at a time. Fry until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Drain the fritters on paper towels, and serve with lemon mayonnaise. 

Lemon Mayonnaise

  • 1 Large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Zest of ½ lemon, finely chopped 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolk, mustard, and salt and pepper, and mix well. Stir the mixture briskly with a whisk while slowly adding the olive oil until it reaches the consistency of mayonnaise. Add the lemon juice and zest, and mix well.  Adjust the seasonings and serve.  

-Colin Cowie

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