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When I made the first batch of these corn cakes and topped them off with a slice of tomato and goat cheese, they were so substantial they reminded me of a burger. The fresher the corn the tastier these cakes will be, because the minute you pick an ear of corn its sugar starts to turn to starch. The best scenario would be to put a pot of water on to boil, pick and husk the corn from the cornfield in the back yard, and get it right into the pot. Most of us do not have a cornfield in the backyard, but at least try to get your corn in the pot the same day you buy it. If you are not a fan of goat cheese, any good melting cheese will do, such as mozzarella, Swiss, or even Cheddar. I love all of those cheeses with corn and tomatoes.
Makes 4 servings
1 1/2 cups fresh or defrosted frozen corn kernels
1 large beefsteak tomato, cut into 8 slices
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour cream
1 large egg
1 to 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces soft goat cheese, cut into 8 slices
2 scallions (white and light green parts), chopped (about 1/4 cup)
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. If using frozen corn, drain it and pat dry. Sprinkle the tomato slices with 1/4 teaspoon salt and set aside in a colander.
Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the baking soda in a bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg in another bowl, then add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (do not overmix). Stir in the corn and desired amount of chopped jalapeños.
Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop enough batter into the skillet to form four 3 1/2-inch pancakes. Cook for about 2 minutes, turning over once, until lightly browned on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer with a spatula to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining oil and batter.
Arrange all of the pancakes in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the tomato slices dry with paper towels and place one on each corn cake. Top each with a slice of cheese and bake for 10 minutes or just until the cheese has melted. Divide the pancakes among 4 plates and top each portion with some of the scallions.
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