Recipe courtesy of Diana Shaw

Sweet Corncakes with Mixed Pestos or Crab Filling

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  • Total: 2 hr
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Cook: 1 hr
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Corn cakes:

3 ears corn

2 eggs

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

Pinch sugar

Pinch cumin (omit if making crab cakes)

Pinch salt

Cilantro pesto, recipe follows

Broccoli pesto, recipe follows

Crab filling, recipe follows

Cilantro pesto:

1 cup minced fresh cilantro

1/4 cup grated imported Parmesan cheese 

1/2 garlic clove, grated 

1/2 cup nonfat or part-skim ricotta cheese 

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 

1/2 jalapeno pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeded 

Broccoli pesto:

1 cup broccoli florets

1/4 cup grated imported Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Tiny pinch mace

Steam the broccoli. Refrigerate to cool, about 15 minutes.

Crab filling:

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon minced scallion, white part only

1 teaspoon capers

1 tablespoon chives

1/2 pound lump crabmeat, shells removed


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat and plunge the corn into it. Cover, and when the corn returns to a boil, turn off the heat. Let the corn sit for 5 minutes. 
  2. Using tongs, lift out the corn and rinse with cold water to cool. Scrape the kernels off the cob, and put them into the work bowl of a food processor. Add the eggs and flour, and process in short pulses until the mixture is still coarse in texture but even in color and well-combined. Stir in the sugar, cumin if making plain corn cakes, and salt. 
  3. Rub a little olive oil over the surface of a heavy nonstick pan or griddle, and heat until a bit of batter dropped on the surface bubbles in the center and browns on the bottom. 
  4. If making plain corn cakes, pour 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan or onto the griddle. When bubbles form on the surface and the bottom has browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, flip it over (using a nonmetallic spatula) to brown the other side, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer to a warm plate and cover with foil to keep warm, and repeat until you've used up all the batter. Serve each corncake spread with one of the pestos and/or garnished with sour cream, yogurt cheese, and salsa, if you'd like.
  5. If making crab-filled corncakes, pour 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan or onto the griddle, and when bubbles form on the side and the bottom is lightly browned, about 4 minutes, place a generous spoonful of Crab Filling in the center. 
  6. Cover the filling with another 3 tablespoons of corn batter. Using a nonmetallic spatula, carefully flip the corncake to cook the other side until brown, about another 4 minutes. Transfer the corncake to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Serve the crab cakes garnished with sour cream, yogurt cheese, alfalfa sprouts, cherry tomatoes, and/or slivers of ripe avocado.

Cilantro pesto:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process to make a smooth, dense paste.

Broccoli pesto:

  1. In a food processor or blender, make a dense paste by blending the broccoli, Parmesan, and Cheddar. Add the mace and process again to distribute it throughout the pesto.

Crab filling:

  1. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, scallion, capers, chives, and crabmeat. Stir well with a fork to blend the ingredients evenly. Refrigerate until ready to use.