A fritter can be classified as an ingredient coated in batter and deep-fried. In my kitchen, it typically forms a rough patty, lightly fried in a skillet with a number of ingredients still visible through the crusted batter coating. According to the online etymology dictionary, the noun, not the verb, is derived from the 14th century Old French verb friture meaning ‘something fried’ which in turn is from the Late Latin frictura, ‘a frying’ (1). Precisely because of the double meaning of the word fritter, I am loathe to admit that when packing the little patties away for a beachside picnic, a few pathetic puns along the lines of ‘frittering the afternoon away’ made their way into my discourse.

Nora Heysen, Corn cobs, 1938
oil on canvas, 40.5 x 51.3 cm, Art Gallery of New South Wales

Nora Heysen painted Corn cobs the same year she won the prestigious Archibald Prize. As the first woman appointed an official war artist, she travelled to New Guinea in 1943 where she was stationed for three years and completed 170 works depicting the women’s war effort. Corn cobs demonstrates influences of Post-Impressionist art, which Heysen would have viewed during her European travels, apparent through the thick handling of the paint and short, visible brushstrokes. She particularly admired the art by van Gogh but it was Fantin-Latour, the artist featured in my previous post, who informed her earlier still life aesthetic.

{Corn Fritters with Roasted Peppers, Cilantro and Feta}

The fritters are a healthy addition to a picnic hamper or by reducing the size of the fritters, the recipe can be adapted to make a bite-sized appetizer for a summer dinner party.

Yield: 12 fritters

1 cup frozen corn, drained
1/4 cup roasted peppers, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, extra for garnish
1 teaspoon cumin
1 green onion, chopped
pinch of salt
pinch of dried chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup semolina
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon olive oil
fresh lime, cut in wedges

Mix the corn, roasted peppers, cilantro, cumin, green onion, salt, chili flakes and freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the two eggs. Mix into the corn mixture and stir in the semolina. Crumble the feta into the mixture and carefully stir until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Drop 3 tablespoons of the batter into the pan. Cook slowly and flip once the fritter becomes crisp and golden, around 2 to 3 minutes. Once cooked through, about an additional 1 to 2 minutes, remove from the heat and place on a large plate. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm and repeat with remaining batter until all fritters are complete.

Serve with wedges of fresh lime and extra cilantro.