Recipe of the Week: Sweet Corn and Squash Fritters with Avocado Crema

It’s that dusty yellow time of August again.

The grass isn’t looking so great, and the angle of that 99-degree sun in the sky paints everything this squinty faded yellow hue.

But some of the yellow that abounds this time of year isn’t so bad. The produce aisles and farmers markets are overflowing with sweet corn and all kinds of summer squash. Both add a sweetness to these fritters from “Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season” by Kimberley Hasselbrink (Ten Speed Press, $25).

As a the photographer-cook behind the blog, The Year in Food, Hasselbrink thinks a lot about color and has organized the book by hue and creates recipes based on the complementary relationship between the color of the ingredients. Consider the cool pistachio color of the crema, which sits nicely with strands of chiffonade basil in a nest of eye-popping fritters.

Almost enough to make you wish the August heat lasted all year.

SWEET CORN AND SQUASH FRITTERS WITH AVOCADO CREMA

“I can’t get enough sweet corn in the summer. I eat it on the cob with salt and butter, tossed into salads, and in lots of fritters. I tire pretty quickly of summer squash, but here it plays an essential role as a binder and builder of structure. The corn makes everything bright with those little bursts of sweetness in every bite. And the crema feels rich and decadent but is nothing more than an avocado blended until creamy with yogurt and a squeeze of lime and salt. Perfect summer eating.”

— Kimberley Hasselbrink

2 small ears corn, preferably white, husks and silk removed

1/2 cup grated zucchini

1/2 cup grated yellow squash (any summer squash will work here)

1/2 to 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced

5 green onions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp. fine sea salt

1 egg, beaten

1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

For the avocado crema:

1 avocado, diced

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

Basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)

Stand the ears of corn upright in a large bowl. Using a very sharp knife, slowly slice the kernels of corn from the cob and into the bowl. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, jalapeño, green onions, basil, cilantro and salt. Add the egg and mix until evenly combined. Add 1/4 cup of flour, mixing again until combined. If your batter is on the wet side, continue adding flour in 1 tablespoon increments, using no more than 1/2 cup of flour. The consistency of the batter should be moist, but more vegetable than batter. Set aside to rest for about 10 minutes.

While the batter rests, make the crema by combining the avocado, yogurt, lime juice, and salt in a bowl. Blend with an immersion blender or in a food processor until creamy. Set aside.

In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Working in batches, measure a scant ¼ cup of the batter for each fritter and drop it into the pan, lightly pressing with a spatula. Cook 3 to 4 fritters at a time, undisturbed, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Flip and cook the other side for about 4 minutes more. Place the fritters on a paper towel — lined plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding another tablespoon of oil to the pan at the start of each batch.

Serve the fritters warm, topped with the crema and basil. Makes about 10 fritters.

From “Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season” by Kimberley Hasselbrink (Ten Speed Press, $25).

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