Hoecakes, or griddled cornbreads, are a staple in chef Howard's home and serve as the wholesome canvas for zesty crab salad and blueberry-corn salsa. The extra salsa is delicious as a chip dip or condiment for grilled meats.
Corn: Invert a small bowl into a large bowl. Place the larger round end of corn upright on the inverted bowl. Run a knife down the cob cutting the corn kernels so they fall into the large bowl (this method will keep the corn contained in the bowl while easily cutting away every kernel). Run the knife down the cut cob to release the corn milk into the bowl. Repeat with remaining corn, then remove the small bowl.
Salsa: To the corn add the blueberries. Finely dice the onion and add to the bowl along with lemon juice. Core the tomato then using a serrated knife dice about the same size as the corn and blueberries. Add to the bowl with as much juice as possible. Finely chop cilantro stems (save leaves for another recipe) and add to the salsa. Removes mint leaves (discard stems), finely slice and add to the salsa along with two big pinches of salt. Stir and let rest 15 minutes and up to 1 day. Makes about 4 cups.
Crab: In a large bowl add chives, mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, coriander, lemon zest and juice. Trim and peel garlic then using a microplane grate the garlic into the crab. Add a pinch of salt and olive oil and whisk to combine. Pick through the crab for shells then gently fold into the dressing. Let rest in the refrigerator 15 minutes.
Hoecakes: Cut the onion into several pieces and add to the blender along with buttermilk. Puree until smooth. Set aside. In a bowl stir together cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Stir in buttermilk onion mixture. Add enough water so it’s the consistency of slightly loose pancake batter, starting with ¼ cup and adding a tablespoon at a time if necessary (Chef Howard says all cornmeal is different so adjust with water to get the proper consistency). If the consistency is correct but water pooling in the batter, add flour to further bind the batter. Stir and set aside.
Preheat a skillet to medium heat, 1 minute. Add vegetable oil and swirl the pan so the oil evenly covers the bottom. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter onto the edge of the pan to form 1 hoecake. If the batter sizzles a little, the pan is ready. Continue to drop the batter making 2 more hoecakes making sure they’re evenly spread out and not touching. Lower the heat slightly and cook for about 3 minutes. When the edges are brown and the tops dry, flip and cook an additional 3 minutes adding more oil if necessary. When golden brown with a lacy edge remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining oil and batter.
Assembly: Stir olive oil into salsa. Set aside. Place hoecakes on a serving platter. Place several tablespoons of crab on the bottom of each hoecake. Top with several tablespoons salsa. Serve.
hoecakes can be made up to a day ahead, stored in the refrigerator and reheated in a 350 degrees F oven for 10 minutes prior to assembly and serving.