Hundreds of readers cooked with every kind of corn they could get their hands on for our June/July 2009 recipe contest: corn on the cob, creamed corn, cornmeal, corn oil, even dried corn husks. Elizabeth Spano from Lyndhurst, NJ, really gave the secret ingredient its due with her fresh corn wontons, Southwestern deep-fried pockets inspired by meals she ate during the eight years she lived in Arizona. She serves them with a zesty lime dip, made with cilantro from her own garden. ¿I like appetizers that I can eat in one or two bites,¿ says Elizabeth, who often makes her prize dish for friends. Her best tip: Treat the wonton wrappers like pastry dough and keep them in the fridge until you¿re ready to use them¿they¿ll be much easier to handle.
Place the corn in a steamer basket set over a saucepan of simmering water. Cover and steam 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, grate the lime zest into a small bowl and squeeze in 1 tablespoon lime juice. Add the sour cream, cilantro, hot sauce and 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix well; set the dip aside.
Remove the corn from the steamer basket and let cool slightly, then cut the kernels off the cobs. Combine with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl.
Line a large baking sheet with paper towels, then arrange the wonton wrappers on top in a single layer. Place 1 teaspoon corn, 1/2 teaspoon tomato, 1/2 teaspoon avocado and 1/4 teaspoon red onion in the center of each wrapper.
Heat about 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a large pot until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees (or place a wooden skewer in the oil to test the temperature; bubbles should form around it).
Moisten the edges of each wonton wrapper with water, then fold in half diagonally to enclose the filling and form a triangle; press gently to seal. Working in batches, lower the wontons into the hot oil with tongs and fry about 1 minute. Flip and fry another 30 seconds, or until light golden. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve with the cilantro-lime dip.