Monday, 18 October 2010

Corngate: The Corn Salsa File

Maybe Australians can’t take credit for inventing corn fritters, but they feel as quintessentially Australian as avocado and vegemite on toast.

My love affair with corn fritters started in Melbourne where some of my favourite cafes did excellent versions of this Australian café classic;

Small Block Cafe in East Brunswick

Mart 130 Cafe on the tram line in Middle Park

When I opened Lantana it went without saying that corn fritters were going on the menu and we did a lot of experimenting to find the perfect fritter recipe- spicy, crispy edges, not too fluffy, and of course, lots of fresh corn.

In the early days some of our English customers needed a little gentle encouragement (along the lines of ‘for God’s sake try something instead of the bacon sandwich’) but once they tried corn fritters, they were hooked. So much so that I seem to have created an international scandal when I did the unthinkable recently and CHANGED THE MENU without proper public consultation.

I didn’t do anything as drastic as remove corn fritters from the menu. All I did was change the topping from corn salsa and lime aioli to sweet chilli jam and crème fraiche. Little did I know that Matt, one of our most loyal (English) regulars, sees little point in living if he can’t have corn salsa on his corn fritters. He has almost boycotted Lantana since the controversial ‘menu change’ but comes in every now and again to see whether I’ve changed the menu back. When I tell him no, he leaves crestfallen with a takeaway slice of banana bread. This is a man who took a year to be weened off bacon sandwiches in the first place but hard as I try, I can’t convince him to try the new corn fritter dish.....yet.

As a concession to Matt I promised to release the corn salsa file so that he doesn’t have to break into Lantana overnight, as threatened, to steal it.

Fresh corn salsa (No longer on Lantana's menu)

6 Corn cobs with outer husks removed
1 medium red onion, finely diced
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 bunch of corriander (washed and chopped)

Cook the corn on a lightly oiled chargrill or frypan to get some colour and then transfer to a 200C oven for 15 minutes.

Once cool enough to handle cut the corn off the cobs. Mix the corn with all the other ingredients.