Crisp and comforting corn fritters, stacked with layers of homemade red hot chili-tomato jam, arugula, and salty prosciutto. This easy appetizer is playful yet stunning, in both appearance and taste.
From what I understand, Corn Fritters originated in the South. So as a Northern girl living in the South, I thought I would partake in creating some local fare. This is my first winter in the South and I have to say, it is VERY different. It was 72 degrees today in late February! The birds are chirping, breeze softly rustling the trees and the sun is beaming. The warmth gave me an itch to cook something bright and somewhat quirky.
My husband and I have been obsessed with pepper jelly. We have slathered it on everything from eggs to brie. This corn fritter recipe called for roasted tomatoes, but I wanted something different. Naturally I decided to tweak it, making my own tomato jam. I have never made jam at home because it seemed like a difficult task. Since I am always intrigued by restaurants that serve savory jams on burgers and sandwiches, I thought I would give it a go.
I went ahead and bought some beautiful chili peppers, planning on putting them in the fritter batter. But as I was cooking down the tomatoes, I decided to throw the peppers in the pot. Crazy, I know. Thus the Red Hot Chili-Tomato Jam was born! This resulted in a flavor that made me take a few steps back and yell out, “Wow, this %@&# is good!” It was one of those moments where you believe that you are the best cook in the world and no one can surpass you. Ready to try it for yourself?
Red Hot Chili-Tomato Jam
- 3 large ripe tomatoes
- 1 large red chili pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2-3 pinches of pepper
- 1-2 pinches of salt
- 1/2 lime
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup chives, finely chopped
- 1 can corn kernels (drained) or 3 ears fresh corn kernels (cooked)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- olive oil for frying
- 2-3 handfuls arugula
- 4-5 slices of prosciutto
- First make the Jam. Cut each tomato in half and scoop out the seeds. Roughly chop the chili pepper (remove seeds for less heat). Add tomatoes and chili pepper to a small sauce pot.
- Turn on medium heat. Add the olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper to the pot. Stir often so the mixture cooks evenly. Let this mixture simmer and cook down until most of the liquid is evaporated (20-25 minutes). When it is done, squeeze the lime juice into the pot and stir to mix. Pour the jam in a jar and cool in the refrigerator.
- In medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, milk, egg, corn, chives, salt and pepper.
- Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan on medium. Drop the corn fritter batter in the pan, making circles of any size you choose.
- Cook until golden brown and edges are crispy. Flip and repeat. Add more oil as needed.
- For serving, stack the corn fritters in layers of tomato jam, arugula and prosciutto. If you want these to be bite-sized, make the corn fritters into 1-2 inch circles, topping each with jam, arugula and prosciutto.
The corn fritters were sweet and crispy, harmonizing with the delicately spicy, yet sweet, chili-tomato jam. Topping this appetizer with fresh arugula and prosciutto enhanced it to dinner-party level. Save this appetizer recipe for your next back-yard bash or Sunday brunch. It’s a keeper.
Recipes adapted from Cooking Light 2010 and Epicurious 2010