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Corn-Leek Cakes with Caviar, Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

These delicate mini corn cakes look especially inviting on a large round platter decorated with watercress or dill sprigs and, if available, tiny white corn on the cob. They are the perfect way to start a formal dinner.

Serve a soft, off-dry Johannesberg riesling or a crisp Alsatian white. If you are feeling more festive, a snappy blanc de blanc or brut champagne would be lovely.

Advance Preparation: The batter may be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated. The corn cakes may be cooked up to 2 hours ahead and kept warm in a very slow oven. Remove the paper-towel liner before placing the cakes in the oven for reheating.

Cooking Methodsauteeing

CostSplurge

Moderate

Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCocktail Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursehors d'oeuvre

Equipmentblender, food processor

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecreamy, crisp, salty, savory, smoky, sweet

Type of Dishcanape/crostini

Ingredients

  • 1 cup corn kernels (from about 2 medium ears)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 medium leeks, white part only, very finely chopped
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup creme fraiche
  • 2 ounces caviar
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
  • Fresh dill or watercress sprigs

Instructions

Place the corn kernels in a food processor and pulse just until coarsely chopped. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt ¼ cup of the butter. Pour off 2 tablespoons and reserve. Add the leeks to the skillet and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a blender, combine the half-and-half, eggs, reserved melted butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until mixed. Add the cornmeal and flour and blend until a smooth batter forms. Add the coarsely chopped corn and sautéed leeks and blend just until mixed.

Melt the remaining ¼ cup butter in a large nonstick skillet or on a griddle over medium heat.

Using a small ladle or measuring cup with a pouring spout, pour about 1 tablespoon of the batter into the skillet for each cake. Do not crowd the pan. Cook until the cakes bubble and are just set, about 2 minutes. Then flip the cakes and cook for another minute. Turn out onto a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to absorb any excess oil. Keep warm. Repeat until all are cooked.

To serve, place the cakes on a large serving platter and garnish each with a dollop of crème fraîche, caviar, a small piece of salmon, and a small sprig of watercress or dill. Serve immediately

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