Fresh Corn Cakes

corn cakes

No one’s been quite been able to explain the popularity of canned corn in France to me. But the explanation of why fresh corn isn’t familiar – or eaten – is that fresh corn is considered animal feed. Which still doesn’t explain how something isn’t fit for human consumption if it’s raw, but if it’s cooked and canned, that’s another story. And when it’s in that sloshy, soggy state, it’s often found in unfamiliar places – like scattered on pizza or piled up in a salade niçoise.

(Which gives people in Nice fits, because it’s pas respectueuse – you’re only supposed to use raw vegetables in a salade niçoise.)

Corn kernels

On the other hand, we Americans can’t get enough fresh corn and come August, most of us living in France who’ve been perfectly content to consume wonderful cheese, bread, and wine for the past eleven months, well, suddenly our seasonal clocks collectively kick in and we develop insatiable cravings for plump, fresh tomatoes and corn on the cob slathered with butter and salt.

So how excited was I when a friend took me to Grand Frais, a giant supermarket near where she lives, which specializes in produce, and I was faced with mounds of fresh corn for just €1,50 ($2) for three ears? And if you bought three, they threw in the fourth one for free. Of course, I couldn’t resist (the corn, and the bargain), and proudly exited the store with a big sack containing a dozen ears of corn.

corncorn cakes

The funny thing was, when she saw my pile of corn, the cashier asked me what animal I was going to feed it to…and I don’t think she was expecting me to point to my friends when she mentioned the word “animals.” I tried to tell her how good fresh corn was, as I’m often wont to do around here (I guess I’m hopelessly Californian – always trying to raise awareness of neglected issues…) but stopped when she told me she didn’t like any vegetables, because she didn’t like the smells of them when they were cooking.

I’ll chalk that up to a curious paradox of someone lucky enough to work in a well-stocked produce store, but was thrilled for myself (and the two-legged animaux I had in tow), and couldn’t wait to smell the corn roasting on the wood-burning fire that we were cooking dinner over later that night.

corn cake batter

Although we ate our fill of corn, I must be rusty because I didn’t realize how much twelve ears of corn would yield. (In case you’re on a quiz show, each large ear will give you about 1 cup of kernels, or 150g.) So I needed to find a few other creative ways to use the rest of it.

corn cake batter

I turned to my trusty volume of Chez Panisse Vegetables, a wonderful treatise on using all the great vegetables that show up during the four seasons in California, which I dip into frequently, for old time’s sake. In spite of making me a little wistful for all those gorgeous ears of Silver Queen corn and heirloom tomatoes that we used to get at the restaurant all summer, I get my taste of California here in Paris, and continued to spread the word of fresh corn at a dinner party/picnic that I was invited, hosted by a vegetarian friend, and these certainly fit the bill.

corn cakes

In addition to the corn, the other magic ingredient in these tasty corn cakes is corn flour, which is different from corn meal and corn starch; it’s similar in texture to wheat flour, but it is sunny yellow and makes the corn cakes even more corny.

Fresh corn cakes - blog

Corn Cakes

Makes 16 corn cakes

Adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters

I added a chopped bird’s eye chile, which made them pretty spicy. So you can either omit the chile, use a different chile, or add a bit more chili powder than I called for. I had considered adding some fresh herbs, and had some chopped basil waiting in the wings. But when I tasted them, I didn’t want anything to detract from the wonderful fresh corn flavor. To fry them up, I used clarified butter which will smoke less. If you want to serve them warm, put a baking sheet in a low oven, about 325ºF (160ºC) and put them in there as you remove them from the pan until ready to serve. Aside from the four I ate right out of the pan, the others were enjoyed at room temperature at the outdoor picnic dinner I went to.

Aside from just a little salted butter swiped and melted over them just after they’re fried, these corn cakes would be great with some roasted tomato salsa heaped on top, alongside a pile of garlicky sautéed greens, or crowned with a dollop of sour cream and salmon eggs with chives. They also would make a nice side course with grilled fish, chicken, or meat.

  • 1 1/2 cups (235g) corn flour (see Note, below)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (preferably aluminum-free)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon chile powder or cayenne
  • 4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 1 cup (250ml) whole or lowfat milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 ears of fresh corn (2 cups kernels, 300g)
  • optional: a spoonful of freshly chopped chile peppers
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 large egg white

1. Whisk together the corn flour, baking powder, salt and chile powder in a large bowl.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter with the milk and honey, until the butter is melted. Set aside until tepid, then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the milk mixture, the 2 egg yolks, the corn, and the chopped chile, if using.

3. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the 3 egg whites until stiff and they hold their shape, then fold them completely into the corn mixture.

4. Heat some butter in a skillet. When hot, spoon batter in mounds into the pan, spaced apart – making as many as will comfortably fit in the pan. (I used a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, which holds about 1/4 cup, 60ml, of batter. You can use a large spoon if you wish.) Flatten them slightly if the batter is too rounded.

5. Let the corn cakes cook until browned on the bottom and starting to bubble around the edges. Flip the corn cakes with a spatula and cook on the other side for about a minute, until lightly browned on the reverse side.

Note: As mentioned, corn flour is not the same as cornmeal; it’s very finely ground corn. I found it at my local natural food store easily and you can get it online. Since the corn cakes use corn flour as a binder, they are gluten-free if you make sure the corn flour you are using is processed in a gluten-free facility.

Note that in certain countries including the United Kingdom, corn flour refers to corn starch (called amidon, Maïzena, or fécule de maïs in French), which is highly refined and very starchy, and should not be used. According to this site, you can grind cornmeal in a blender to replicate corn flour.

corn cakes


  • Just in case you still have extra corn…the best way I’ve ever had it, last week, was to cut it off the cob and sauté it in a little butter, then salt and pepper it. Wonderful.

  • Those, look, delicious.

  • I’ve only had fresh corn once in the last seven years; I’m in serious manque!
    I’ve never even seen frozen corn here, which is at least somewhat fresh tasting.

    • For a while, the frozen food chain Picard was selling frozen corn kernels which could be sautéed with butter, salt, and chile powder with good results. Now they sell the frozen ears of corn, which I’m not interested in (I saw them at Paris Store, the Asian hypermarché yesterday as well in the freezer.) DO NOT try the cryovac’d ears of corn on the cob sold in supermarkets. Someone bought it once and it was dreadful and mushy. Sometimes Tang Frères or shops in Chinatown (13th) have fresh corn in the summer, which can be fixed up although it’s not the tender, sweetest of corn.

  • Wow, this looks delicious. I have tried to make corn cakes in the past, but instead of using the actual corn, I used 1/2 corn meal and 1/2 flour. My wife did not like them. I think she may like these. I wonder how they would taste with Alaga syrup poured over them?

  • can you please suggest a side dish or accompliment for these lovely corn cakes…

  • Will try this recipe soon. Here in the Philippines, fresh corn on the cob is available nearly year round, as it was in the USA. I am wondering if grilled Cajun spiced corn might be an interesting variation.

  • Hmm. This would make a great brunch with some poached eggs and maple bacon! I’ve been looking for something savoury pancake-ish for a while. I’m American, but I live in the UK, so my other half considers normal sweet pancakes a tea/dessert thing, not breakfast/brunch!

  • That’s all very well but corn flour won’t allow you to do this. 1 part of water to 1.5–2 parts of corn starch and a speaker covered in plastic wrap.

  • Its corn season here in Ottawa and the supermarkets and produce stands have heaps of local fresh corn. My favourite corn recipe is a corn fritter/pancake from Karen Barnaby. The recipe is similar to your wonderful corn cakes but it uses buttermilk. I’m going to give your recipe a try this weekend — maybe with maple syrup and double smoked bacon…

  • I share my love of the canned corn similar to the French. I have always had an deep love for creamed corn straight from the can, and canned nibs l used in salads. I find they are sweeter than one you can get in Australia. We might grow goood wheat but corn is sub par. Thank for simple recipe for corn pancakes, they are a fave brunch here!

  • OMG David, these look incredible. I’m literally salivating.

  • And that’s YELLOW corn, which is getting so hard to find. Southern Ontario corn can be some of the best in the world, where we have two distinct varieties – people corn and cow corn. The cow corn grows much taller.
    If I find some organic yellow corn the recipe I go to is deep fried corn fritters, and it’s the only deep frying I ever do – I like it that much!

  • These look amazing. I LOVE fresh sweet corn in the summer too. Just one note – corn is not a vegetable. It is a worthless, delicious, grain.

    • Like tomatoes, eggplant, and squash, which are technically fruits, they get lumped in with vegetables because they’re prepared in savory ways and/or in manners consistent with other vegetables.

      More importantly, we all need to be more vigilant about those Salades Niçoises with cooked vegetables on them. Or with – mon dieu! – grilled tuna!
      ; )

  • Oh how I crave fresh sweet corn! Here in Texas most of the corn we get is what I call “field corn” which IS mostlly used to feed animals and with good reason. It’s so tough and starchy it’s not really fit for humans. My grandmother used to make corn cakes just like that, even with the spicy chili powder, and we’d have them for breakfast with bacon and eggs. SO good. Thanks for the memories and the pictures of beautiful corn.

  • These look so delicious. One question, though: could you sub cornmeal – probably slightly adjusting the quantity of liquid – for a slight crunch, or would that be too rustic?

    Speaking of the French making peace with fresh corn, Pierre Franey’s wonderful old cookbook, Cuisine Rapide, has a great recipe for corn fritters (made with cumin, sweet and hot peppers and scallions.) Been making them for years – always good.

    Also, I’m perplexed about classic Salade Nicoise only using raw vegetables – doesn’t it usually contain blanched haricots verts and boiled new potatoes….or have I been eating impostors all these years?

  • Crispy gorgeous summer cakes! I had a bunch of leftover corn from a party a few weeks ago and made a simple soup with it–regular suspects included plus lots of green chiles. Pureed, a bit of cream and Parmesan added, then chilled. A bit time consuming as you have to put it through a sieve ( or have your teeth all full of yellow bits), but worth it! Corn is just in and incredibly abundant in Minnesota. Also–the Salade Nicoise thing: I’ve had it in Nice and there were cooked potatoes and cooked green beans??

  • These look so good!
    In my year of living in Brussels I haven’t come across fresh corn that looked even edible. Most of it is way too old and slightly shriveled, even when other vegetables sold alongside it are impeccable. Another vegetable I miss is kale, although time to time I can find it at the Portuguese shops.

  • Alyce and Amy: According to Jacques Médecin in Cuisine Niçoise (which is controversial, for a variety of reasons, but some believe it to be the most accurate guide to Niçoise cuisine) and the excellent Cuisine of the Sun by Mireille Johnston, they say to use only raw vegetables and the only beans they use are fava or lima beans, which are delicious raw. (In Médecin’s book, he says “…never, never, I beg you, include boiled potatoes or any other boiled vegetable in your salade niçoise.”

    Of course, tastes change – and you can find inauthentic Niçoise cuisine in Nice (one highly regarded, famous place in Nice puts Emmenthal in their pistou because they say it makes it creamier) so there will be people futzing around with them in Nice, and elsewhere. But it’s hard to find a very good version of Niçoise salad at a restaurant. @Amy: If you try cornmeal, report back as it’d be interesting to know if it works.

    Victoria: Thanks to The Kale Project you can get kale in Paris. The farmers only planted it for one season last year (which was the first), but more is on the way.

  • I miss Grand Frais! What bargains they had, together with the best golden sultanas EVER. These corn cakes look perfect for our toddler, thanks for solving the dinner dilemma :) xoxo

  • It might be worse, people might consume creamed corn from a can, like they do here. It makes whole canned kernels sound sophisticated. That book is so wonderful, I have an old copy and the pages look almost like recycled paper, maybe they are. Learned to eat shaved raw asparagus from it.

  • Fresh sweetcorn cut from the cob, and frozen. A taste of summer in the cold winter months.

  • I’ve had that field corn DianeD mentioned, while in another country. All the stands along the road had meat, which I don’t eat, but one also had ears of corn. I thought I’d found something delicious I could consume, but that was some nasty stuff. Perhaps too many in Europe were exposed to that waxy, foul tasting feed corn and not the juicy corn I see in your pictures. (I keep reading about corn ice cream?)

  • Can’t wait to try these as it’s high corn season here in Minnesota. My go-to recipe for corn pancakes has been Dorie Greenspan’s from “Around My French Table.” My young kids love them. Wondering if corn flour is the same as masa, used in Mexican cooking?

  • Katie G: I just looked and saw her recipe, which uses canned corn. I guess that makes her (or her recipe) more French than me! ; )

    Paula: Mireille’s book was a revelation and is still a terrific book, as you know. It’s so unfortunate she passed away so young. I’d lost my first copy of that book but picked another one up a few years ago.

    (On another note, so sad when books go out of print. Here’s hoping that with e-books, publishers will republish some of those classic in electronic versions, which don’t require storage or shipping, so they can always remain in print.)

    Bake: I was really surprised since I’d never heard of the store. They also have a lot of products you don’t find easily from the Middle East, Italy, etc – and – they carry dark chocolate-covered marshmallow bears! (not the milk chocolate ones.)

  • I love corn, and make corn relish pretty much every year. One tip: use a mandoline to get the kernels off the cob. Set it to the height you want and have at it. It blows away an ear faster than you can shuck ’em. Hacking at the cobs with a chefs knife will be a thing of the past.

  • I’m in Florida David and we still have mountains of fresh corn filling the markets. My Mum (we’re New Zealanders) used to make Corn Fritters which are very similar to these and served them with crisp bacon, grilled tomatoes and sliced avocado, for lunch or brunch. So good.

    Tonight I’ll make these to serve along side a Mexican-spiced grilled chicken and tomato, cucumber, watermelon and red onion salad.

    You could try a Trader Joes inspired corn salsa with your recently discovered tortillas and a tart margarita!

  • You can also make Fresh Corn Popovers.
    Process 1/3 cup fresh corn, 1/3 cup water, then sieve adding water to make 1/2 cup.
    Whisk liquid, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk. 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pinch of pepper, and 1 cup flour. This can sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
    Put in prepared popover pans.
    Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
    Good with marmalade and butter.

  • I have sunny yellow corn flour that I buy in Indian groceries here in NY.
    It is wonderful to work with.
    I’m going to make corn cakes tonight! thanks for the inspiration.

  • Interesting, that is the same exact recipe that my MiL (who is a south Jersey native) gave me and my family loves them.

    Try roasted corn quesadillas from fresh corn – roast the corn on the cob on a grill or off the cob in a frying pan, add to tortillas with chevre and roasted red peppers. Great quick weeknight dinner.

  • In the late summer, when the corn is getting starchy, I just bake the kernels in a gratin dish with butter, salt and pepper until it’s quite brown and crusty on top, an idea I got from Michael Ruhlman. He suggests slicing the kernels through the center to release the milk before stripping them off the cob, but I don’t bother.

    The corn at my local greenmarket {Union Square in NYC} is so icky sweet at the height of the season that I find it inedible, so I wait until September.

    This recipe looks absolutely delicious!

  • In South Africa, using Koo cream-style sweetcorn is a lazy way to make sweetcorn fritters. After a month here in Paris, I’m really starting to miss the frozen sweetcorn and fresh corn on the cob that one gets in South Africa.

  • Think I can substitute buttermilk for milk?

  • Sorry. But that still looked like cow corn to me. I grew up with the corn field in the back yard, and the pot of water had to be boiling when we went out to pick the corn. I am a Corn Snob Princess who lives in Italy and hasn’t had a freakin’ taste of real sweet corn in years.
    Your post…sob…sob….killed me.

  • Growing up in Manhattan, mom would just add corn to pancake batter; can’t wait to try out this recipe! Your recipes never fail to please!

  • I’m in Paris just for August and, being unable to let go of my summer-loving American-ness, I’ve been stocking up on fresh corn at your favorite market on Sundays – Richard Lenoir. There is a vendor toward the northern end, in the middle, with a small basket of ears (also on the northern end of the stand). They’ve tasted pretty good! Big, juicy kernels – as good as anything in the U.S. I only boiled them for a few minutes and yes – slathered them in butter, salt, and pepper. All in the privacy of my chambre de bonne where no one can judge me.

  • Oh yes, a drizzle of maple syrup at breakfast! If you make tiny ones they are a good finger food with salsa and sour cream!

  • David, I have never had corn cakes and plan on giving these a try! They look so good and easy enough to make. I’m pretty sure my daughter would enjoy these as well. I plan on using jalapeños instead of bird’s eye chili. I’m in the San Diego, CA area & have access to different types of chili’s….but a seeded jalapeño is something my daughter can handle. I’ve enjoyed reading the responses you’re getting from this article! I love the ideas people are sharing too!

  • I have so many questions. The only corn flour here is either yellow – if anybody speaks yiddish its mamaliga and I have no idea if that’s what you mean – or cornflour for babies. We get corn here fresh frozen or tinned but corn kernels. This I like to eat cold. Tracey T may I come to your mum for that delicious sounding meal yum.

  • I’ve been disappointed by the white corn I’ve eaten in the past few years. It’s plenty sweet, but it barely has any corn flavor. It’s just crunchy (which I love), sweet and moist. That’s it! Doesn’t matter if I purchase it from a grocery store or farmers mkt, it’s all been bland. I happened on some yellow corn (grown in Brentwood, CA) and it looked and tasted exactly what I expect from fresh corn; The kernels were like tiny yellow opals; slightly milky but still translucent. The texture was firm/tender and crisp when boiled or steamed just a couple of minutes and there was no mistaking the flavor; it was corn-y! It was heavenly. As far as canned corn goes, to me it’s just nasty tasting; like corn that’s been soaking in it’s cooking water too long and the starch has started to get musty. I’ll only use frozen petite kernel corn if I can’t get fresh. Did you see Deb Perlman’s fresh corn crepes recipe posted recently? They’re pretty tasty!

  • Gotta try this – we’re picking corn this weekend (Silver Queen, yay!). One thing that can be done with leftover corn cakes, if one has such a thing, is to use them as the bread component in a grilled cheese sandwich, a la the South American aropas/arepas.

  • Hi David,
    Here in CH there is fresh corn, but bizarrely tough and chewy – I call it cow corn.
    I did see frozen corn once in D, but not here :(
    While vacationing in CT over the 4th I was thrilled to indulge once again in America’s sweet, tender and juicy young corn. Heaven!
    Thanks for your great recipes!

  • Growing up in Nebraska, the corn belt, we would look forward to Mom’s “corn fritters” which were just like yours but made with regular flour and no spice. We poured syrup over them and considered them a special treat!

  • in case anyone has not heard of this, the Lee Mfg company in Texas has been making for years a wooden corn cutter/creamer that is worth checking out. While you can use it to just cut off kernels, the much better use is to use the creamer attachment which results in leaving most of the husk of each kernel on the cob, but scrapes out the inside giving you the creamiest freshest tasting corn you have ever tasted. I usually just heat it up slowly with a big gob of butter and add sea salt and freshly ground pepper. But you could also use this mixture to make corn cakes or a corn souffle.

  • Sillygirl: That sounds good. Fortunately I have a popover pan. May give them a try.

    Clarentine: I didn’t have any leftovers, but that’s because I was kind enough to share. Maybe next batch…

    Susan: Yes, some of it is now bred just to be sweet, but not tasty. Brentwood corn is amazing – I didn’t see Deb’s recipe because I tend to glaze past recipes that call for fresh corn. But now that I have a source for it, I am happy to try other recipes.

    Whitney: I’ve made corn for French friends who love it. So not sure why it hasn’t caught on. Probably because it’s a bit different to prepare than what folks are used to, and that it’s still hard to come by.

  • Hi Dave…………..I guess is could use frozen corn for the corncakes ?? and no grilled tuna in Salade Nicoise ?? Great posts………more interesting than NY Times…

  • I live in saint Louis, mo……the middle of the United States where our farmers markets are bursting with wonderful corn and the most amazing tomatoes…… good. Come to saint Louis david, we will feed you!

  • How can you taunt me with this recipe this year? I’ve lived in France since 2007 and have always grown corn (much to my neighbours’ surprise) as you will never, ever get corn from a shop – even Grand Frais – which is as sweet as cobs that have come straight from the garden. The minute it’s picked the sugar starts to turn to starch, so corn shipped from the other side of the globe is never going to be edible, nor is corn that’s been sitting on the shelf for a week. But this year has been so appalling for vegetable gardening that hardly any of my corn germinated, despite several attempts, and the few plants I have don’t look as though they’ll make it before autumn sets in. We’re already back to the bitterly cold nights we still had at the end of June. I’ll just have to keep the recipe on file for next year which I sincerely hope will be a lot better.

  • I didn’t realise that for the French fresh corn is animal feed. I know corn on the ‘ears’ as you call them from the Italians who came to work as ‘Saisonniers’ in Switzerland many, many years ago and who brought us their food (freshly pressed olive oil which we hadn’t heard of before, mais (corn), italian veggies and rough red wine). I even, as a kid, called the Italians – together with all the other kids – ‘Meiser’, thinking it came from our Swiss German word being ‘noisy’…. and only years later I realised that they were affectionally called Maiser because of them bringing with them the Mais (corn….). It’s one of those early childhood stories I recall with much nostalgie.
    Love them just slowly grilled and salted – one knob (ear) and a huge bowl of salad makes me a happy girl.

  • If you need 1 more recipe to try, here it is: Saute some red bell peppers with 1/2 of a big onion, add some sliced zucchini; salt and pepper and then the grilled corn kernels. I usually have this side dish with grilled chicken.

  • I grew up in Ohio, but have been living in Germany for the past 12 years and I still miss corn on the cob. Just like in France, the only corn you get here is canned. And sometimes pre-cooked corn cob halves sold in sad little vacuum-sealed packages. Just the mention of fresh Silver Queen corn on the cob makes me teary-eyed.

  • David- is the corn cooked at all before going into the batter? I woulf be afraid the pan fry wouldn’t be enough heat to cook the corn I’m the middle of they are thick. they look amazing I want to make some today!

    • I didn’t cook the corn first. But if you’re concerned that your corn kernels are too thick, you could cook it then drain it well, and use it that way. But I used them right off the cob.

  • I confess I’m feeling a bit smug that we can just walk into the local grocery store, farmer’s market or road stand and get as much fresh corn as we want in Connecticut. (And vacpac and freeze the excess). I’ll never take it for granted again…and I LOVE this recipe!

  • Which Grand Frais did you go to? Guessing it’s not the one near me, but yeah, I got some corn the other day from them. Great minds, eh? This looks like as good a recipe as any for the couple that are left in my frigo.

    The Grand Frais near me also has great African & Caribbean stuff because Etampes has a huge immigrant community. Attieke, plantains, even -fresh- PEANUTS. So I can get me some boiled (pronounced balled) peanuts.

  • Can’t wait to try this recipe. I may leave out the savory ingredients and make them for breakfast with maple syrup over them!

  • Corn flour is very easily found in Indian grocery stores as we use it a lot to make corn rotis.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe David, farmers market in Bay area are filled with fresh corn

  • (Seinfeld voice) And what’s the deal with ‘animal feed?’

    I really don’t understand that… It’s an almost American disconnect between the canned & processed thing and the raw thing. Oh well, luckily I grow my own anyway.

  • Also just a clarification, when you say ‘3. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the 3 egg whites until they hold their shape, then fold them completely into the corn mixture.’ You mean hold their shape as in stiff peaks/meringue?

    Yes, when you lift the whisk, the beaten egg whites should hold peaks. -dl

  • Am going to make these tonight along with some salsa as you suggested. FYI, if you are in the USA, Bob’s Red Mill makes a gluten free corn flour that is stone ground and lovely to use. When you open the bag, it even SMELLS like corn! Bob’s products are not GMO.

  • Looks delish. Is there a way you can put a “print this recipe” button on your posts?

  • To like or dislike certain food in most part it really depends on what type of food a person grew up on, the environment and ethnicity. I’m happy to say I grew up in Hungary, living in California and (was) married to a New Orleans native. Can’t ask for more than these basic culinary backgrounds. It comes easier to be flexible and acceptable toward other flavors, cooking traditions and styles.

  • also wonderful is sauteing fresh corn in olive oil, butter, or bacon grease or any combo for a really long time until the corn gets completely caramelized–lots of dark brown. salt, pepper and have a really indulgent lunch–almost like candy in its sweetness, or the caramelized corn adds a lovely chewiness on top of salad or other veggies. but really cook those kernels down.

  • Fantastic recipe David. Yes, it’s corn season in the U.S., especially in the Midwest where I’m eating every other day. One recipe you may enjoy (since you seem to like Mexican food) is a take on the Elote. It’s basically a roasted corn salad that tastes like Elote and it’s the first dish to be finished at dinner time. – Roast 6 ears of corn and cut the kernels from the cob. Then mix with a dressing made of mayo (1/2 C) / lime juice (1 lime) / chile powder (to taste). I also use a dash or two of hot sauce. Mix together with some cilantro, scallions, and Cotija cheese (or Parmesan if you must). It makes me miss the Elote cart in the streets on Chicago, selling roasted ears of corn slathered in mayo, lime juice, and dusted with chile powder and sprinkled with cheese. This along with a sliced cucumber with lime juice and chile powder (and maybe a taco or two) – I’m a happy man…

  • My father – well, actually, I suppose it’s my brother these days since my father has given over the day-to-day management of the farm to him – often grows maize, but not sweetcorn. Passing ramblers don’t appear to know the difference and will steal a few heads, but the menfolk say “Good luck to them!” since maize is totally not designed for human consumption and will never be sweet, no matter how long you boil it! Some years there was sweetcorn in their vegetable garden, which was very different.

    The supermarkets here are just beginning to have the fresh cobs in stock; I must get some soon, as we both love them – just steamed or baked, with butter, salt and pepper. Lovely!

  • Fresh corn is so sweet!

  • that is beautiful!
    i would dearly love to make these corn cakes! might try buttermilk or Greek Yogurt instead of the milk?

    however, one has to be careful with corn in the USA as most of it GMO; in Europe, where the corn ”is for animals” it is also GMO :( i’m not sure about that for human consumption if it is the same canned, or a different variety and growing method..
    in CA, there are some farms that grow GMO-free corn, but it is usually blue or red! i guess the corn cakes might look funny like that..

  • I never saw fresh corn in Paris!! We had quite an adventure finding ingredients for Mexican food – but managed to locate a Colombian eatery that was rather interesting. I would guess that is all changing now and you have better access.

    My favorite fresh corn activity is usually grilling but fresh corn polenta is a personal favorite when there’s no fire.

  • Isn’t masa corn flour?

  • My mother would make these at times for our wonderful “dinner for breakfast” meals. I’d smear them with butter and pour honey all over them. Yummy memories

  • These look great! I think I’ll try putting some chopped anaheim chilis in the batter.

  • I haven’t red all of the comments but crn grown in France is NOT the same human-eaten sweet corn as in the USA. It may scratch the itch and serve well for corn fritters but it does not satisfy a corn on the cob desire.

  • This is just what I was looking for. We are leaving on a 17 day camping trip and I like to make as much fresh food as I can. Corn on the cob travels well.
    How stiff do the egg whites need to be? I might be whisking for a while.

    Thank you David for another great recipe, and reminding me to pull out my Chez Panisse Vegetable book.

  • I don’t believe this is set up to print recipe only which is what I would like to do. Looks so yummy!!!

  • I agree with Beth, please add a print recipe feature!!

  • Beth and Lynn: I explain why there isn’t one here.

  • Beth & Lynn: cut & paste, than print.

  • I love how you ‘excited’ the store with your purchase of a dozen ears!

  • haha, those French, well this animaux is going to have corn cakes soon! Haven’t made any in a while and they will be even berret with corn flour. thanks.

  • I’m from Montréal, Québec, and the corn here is the best you’ll ever have!

    Having tried the corn you find in Europe, it really has nothing to do with what we eat in North America. The big yellow grains are rarely the sweetest, most of the time farineux, and I’m pretty sure that’s the kind we use to feed animals here too, because it’s no good for ”corn on the cob”. You can’t find sweet corn in Europe, with smaller, yellow and white grains.

  • Surprised no one has yet commented on how popular corn fritters are in South East Asian cooking, and Indian as well. Useful recipe in Charmaine Solomon’s COMPLETE ASIAN COOKING, the book that has taught two or three generations of Australians how to cook the foods of the region. I’ve made many variations over the years, but basically, add cooked kernels your preferred batter, and also add chopped chili, some finely chopped fresh prawn meat and a tablespoon or two of Thai fish sauce. Serve with sweet chili sauce, rocket on the side, a good starter. A Balinese friend showed me another twist – blend half the corn kernels into the batter to enrich the flavour, and add the other half after blending to provide some crunch. I try to cook twice as much corn as I need, and put half the cooked kernels into the freezer so it’s easy for next time. Madhur Jaffrey’s WORLD VEGETARIAN COOKING has some recipes for using corn in Indian food.

  • Sorry, in comment above forgot to say add chopped coriander leaves as well to the Thai-style corn cakes.

  • So happy you went to Grand Frais. I LOVE Grand Frais! I was thrilled the first time I went to one in Clermont-Ferrand (called Espace Fraîcheur at the time). It has things I never even found in California…except for tomatillos. And green onions (but my next door neighbor is an organic vegetable grower from Belgium, and he is now growing them all year round. But until last year there was no Grand Frais in Moulins. Now there is!! Your corn cakes look spectacular, and I’m going to buy some fresh corn and make some. And I buy corn flour there. It’s this: and it comes from Italy.

  • David, nice article. And I am going to make these!

    Funny about fresh and canned corn in France… why on salads, the canned stuff is strewn over the top!

  • living near Agen I can tell you that most of the corn grown here IS for animals it is completely different than that you are eating(like concrete) Sometimes we do see fields of lovely corn being grown which is then all cut down at night time and shipped away to be tinned! The trick is to find/recognize it and get some before the BIG machines arrive. Those sold in shops in France mainly come from small growers
    Thank goodness for Grand Frais and their effort to bring in different veg /fruits to France

    Corn cakes look great must try them Many thanks

    • That’s great you can find some growing – and grab it quick before they harvest and can it! I am surprised I’d not heard of Grand Frais before; I wish they would open one in Paris. (Some of their produce is no different than what is sold at other supermarkets and outdoor markets in Paris, via négotiants, but their selection is so much wider and the quality seems to be a lot better than many others.)

  • I love cornmeal pancakes! My dear friend Lisa, introduced them to me in the 90’s. I visited her in San Fran, and she pulled out ‘The Joy of Cooking’ and made them. I don’t make pancakes that often, but when I do, then are usually the cornmeal pancakes. I love them in the summer with fresh berries – yum. I love the idea of adding the fresh corn. Thank you! I will try them, before the summer is over so I can have them with fresh berries smashed on top!

  • Those look wonderful! And they are already gluten free, so no substituting and adjusting for me.

    I have recently fallen in love with corn flour, here in the US you can get it from Bob’s Red Mill, I believe they are in stores through most of the west, I’m not positive about the eastern states.

    Would it work well to use leftover cooked corn on the cob? I always grill too much when we have a party and then we are eating grilled corn on the cob for a week, this would be a great way to mix it up.

    • Yes, absolutely that leftover roasted corn would work. I like Bob’s Mill as well. I linked to them in the post since their products are quite good.

  • My Mom used to make something LIKE this: Bisquik, fresh corn, butter and maple syrup. Mmm good.
    Thanks, Dave

  • Wow! I love corn I love cake. I am so gonna love this hehe Thank you x

  • To me, corn is one of the most sacred foods on earth. David, you said the magic words: Silver Queen. I am from New Jersey and our white sweet corn is the best. I have always preferred Silver Queen with small kernels like pearls. Soft and sweet and with a juicy cob full of corn milk. All you need is butter and salt. It is just the most heavenly food in the summer. Husking the corn–ONLY when you are ready to cook it–is a religious experience.

    When in France, I was once served a salade Nicoise with corn kernels. I was delighted. Since I was on a tour that was following in Thomas Jefferson’s footsteps through Paris, Burgundy and Provence, I thought it was to honor him. Apparently not.

  • I had a phone conversation yesterday with my daughter and son-in-law who live in Italy, just outside Naples. They said that the only corn they see there is typically frozen and not anything they would be interested in buying. The local markets are okay, but a drive from the base and the produce varies. They were very jealous to hear that here in CT, where we recently moved back to that a local farmstand has the most amazing corn—-and has been here for over 40 years! They have the sweetest corn….and do not allow customers to shuck etc—-it is chosen and bagged and we have had only perfect ears of corn!

  • I have to smile thinking of my French friends’ son who was visiting us in America when confronted with a cob of sweet corn and barbecue. He couldn’t get past his training to use his silverware and not touch the food with his hands! We are such Barbarians here!

  • Also a good use of corn is to make macque choux- here is a link to some New Orleans style recipes, some will be creole and some cajun, but is France meeting the New World

  • An elegant way to get corn off the cob

    Another fun foodie site –

  • Surely someone else has mentioned this, but there’s a huge difference between field corn (feed corn for animals) and sweet corn.

    • @currants. I grew up in Nebraska, so yes, I have always known the difference. But for many people there is a huge disconnect between what they buy in the supermarket and its origins.

    • I guess I should try to explain that the next time ~

  • We like to soak a few ears of silver queen for about 15 minutes and then toss them on the grill to steam. The steamed corn is simply delicious. And leaving the husks on protects them from burning if the fire flares up.

  • I need to find this produce market. We are in the 17th for another week (have been here since 7/24) and I can honestly say I miss my Whole Foods in CA.

  • Looks delicious and gluten-free… I am so happy!

  • So does the fact that they think of fresh corn as animal feed mean you can get corn that isn’t the supersweets? I grew up in the midwest, on corn that tasted like CORN, not sugar, and I miss it desperately.

    I am growing some this year, in a bed that needed to be rotated, but as I said, I’m a midwesterner, the idea that two long rows of corn in a raised bed in Montana are going to actually produce ears seems absurd to me. We’ll see.

  • Salivating here…I completely forgot about summer fresh corn…
    Beillevaire now has ghee which you could use for the clarified butter..
    They have a ferme visit next week
    Let me know if you have any interest in visiting

  • That is silly that canned corn is acceptable, but fresh corn is “animal feed”… I guess I’m an animal (that should surprise no one that knows me). These look delicious, and even though I don’t have several “extra” ears of corn lying around, I’m pretty sure this recipe is worth picking up a couple fresh ears at the market. And thanks for the veggie cookbook recommendation!

  • Love corn on the cob with butter melting on top…yum! These look delicious too