This summer, I became immersed in the world of honey. It began with my reporting on a magazine story about backyard beekeepers, which then led to lessons in how honey is made and why it’s been a treasured food for millennia. Did you know there are more than 300 documented varieties of honey in the US alone? Or that the University of California, Davis developed a tasting wheel to categorize the hundreds of flavors that can be detected in these many hues of honey? All this research, of course, ended up with me back in my kitchen, testing recipe after recipe. I write today to share this, my favorite new honey recipe. Think of these fritters as tasty, hearty hush puppies, good enough to make into a meal. The honey flavor is subtle, yet a perfect complement to the corn and pork.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Honey by Marie Simmons
- 3 slices thick-sliced bacon (local pork is a stand-out in this dish)
- 3⁄4 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
- 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups corn niblets, fresh raw or thawed from frozen
- 3⁄4 cup buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp. light honey (orange blossom or clover honey, for example)
- vegetable oil for deep frying
- 1/2 cup dark honey (try buckwheat or huckleberry honey if you can find it)
- Fry the bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, until browned. Lift from the bacon fat onto a paper-lined plate. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and black pepper until well-blended. Stir in the corn.
- In a small bowl whisk the buttermilk and honey until blended. Add to the dry ingredients and fold until thoroughly blended.
- Heat about 1-1/2 inches of oil in a deep heavy pot until hot enough to sizzle water droplet or 375°F on a deep frying thermometer.
- Add the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls to the hot oil. Fry, turning as they brown, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon lift the fritters from the oil to a tray lined with double thickness of paper towels.
- Heat the additional darker honey in a saucepan set over very low heat, stirring, just until warmed, about 1 minute. Chop bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and sprinkle atop plate of fritters. Drizzle the warm honey over the fritters and serve.