Florida Crab and Corn Fritters

Johnny Earles is one of the most creative chefs in the South. At Criolla’s restaurant in Grayton Beach, between Pensacola and Panama City, Florida, my friends and I sampled numerous items on his innovative menu, but what caught my attention most were the crab and corn fritters made with buttermilk and ricotta cheese. I’ve adapted the recipe somewhat, adding a bit of spice and adjusting some of the ingredients. The fritters are so moist and delicious by themselves that I see no need in serving them with a remoulade sauce, as the restaurant does. Do so if you like, using the recipe in Julia’s Shrimp Remoulade.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • cup buttermilk
  • tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 scallions (part of green tops included), finely chopped
  • 1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage and flaked
  • Vegetable oil

Method

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and cayenne pepper and stir till well blended. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, cheese, buttermilk, and lime juice and stir till well blended. Add to the dry ingredients, stir till the batter is well blended and smooth, and set aside.

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat, add the corn, bell pepper, and scallions and cook, stirring, till softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cooked vegetables and crabmeat to the batter, stir gently with a fork till well mixed, and form the mixture into 6 oval patties.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat about ¼-inch of oil over moderately high heat, cook the patties about 3 minutes on each side or till golden, and drain on paper towels. Serve hot.