I love when a meal totally surpasses my expectations.  I had this recipe saved for quite a long time but unlike the majority of the recipes I save, where I am certain we will love it and just need to find the right time to make it, this one was more of a question mark.  It looked intriguing and different but…I just wasn’t sure.  I can’t even tell you how many times I scrolled past it only to almost remove it from the list and then decide at the last second to keep it just in case.  Finally I ended up deciding it was now or never.  It turned out to be perfect timing with Indiana sweet corn coming into season.

This meal was a major win.  We loved both the corn cakes themselves as well as the relish on top.  That’s saying something for me, considering I normally go to great lengths to avoid avocado.  The combination of flavors just works.  I made this as a main dish and it was great that way, but I can also imagine these being a very well received first course or plated appetizer for a summer get together.  They still tasted delicious as leftovers too, though of course a bit of the texture is lost over time.  Summer may not be around much longer but while corn is fresh, sweet, and cheap, take advantage of it and enjoy this awesome dish.

  • Yield 12 cakes


For the corn cakes:

  • 3 large ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp. buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

For the relish:

  • 1 large tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1½ tsp. olive oil
  • 1½ tsp. white wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced

Ranch dressing, for serving (optional)


  • 01

    Cut the corn kernels off of the cobs and place in a large bowl.  Place 2 cups of the corn kernels in the food processor and pulse several times, until the corn is slightly pureed but still chunky.  Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the remaining corn kernels.  Add the flour, cornmeal, onion, basil, baking powder, and baking soda to the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to mix well.  Add the eggs, buttermilk, and butter, and stir just to combine.

  • 02

    To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients except the avocado in a medium bowl and mix well to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 days.  Just before serving, mix in the avocado.

  • 03

    Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Add just enough oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan and heat until sizzling hot.  Scoop the batter into the skillet a heaping tablespoon at a time, cooking the cakes in batches of 4 or 5 so that they are not touching.  Fry 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown.  Transfer the cooked cakes to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining batter.

  • 04

    Serve immediately topped with the relish and drizzled with ranch dressing, if desired.