I love corn. There is literally not one thing I have eaten with corn in it that I haven’t liked. Besides just being served on the cob (which is one of my all-time favorite things to eat in the summer), corn is so versatile it can make an appearance in almost anything. I love sweet corn pudding, corn spoonbread and cornmeal in my waffles. I’ve used it to make a sauce for pasta (which turned out delicious, by the way). Heck, I’ve even eaten corn added into desserts like panna cottas and ice cream.
When I discovered arepas (Latin American corn cakes) ten years ago, it was love at first bite. So when I stumbled across these sausage stuffed corn griddle cakes in an old issue of Bon Appetit, I instantly added it to my “must make” pile of recipes. They seemed to be exactly what I love about arepas (crispy outside, soft inside) with the bonus addition of sausage, which was intriguing.
After all, added sausage can never be a bad thing, right?
The opportunity to make these finally arose a week or so ago when my friend Oliver and I were looking for a quick dinner to enjoy at our weekly TV date. At first I was nervous because it seemed like they might take too long to put together (which could intrude on our time watching Vampire Diaries), but it actually was a pretty quick project. One which I’m sure will be repeated in the near future.
You make a basic corn batter, which includes whole wheat flour and cornmeal. Then take 7 oz of breakfast sausage out of their casings and cook up them in a hot skillet, crumbling the meat into small chunks. Once the sausage is cooked through, remove it from the pan and add the corn (we used thawed kernels). Cook the corn until it browns. Fold the sausage, corn and sliced green onions into the batter and you’re ready to make some cakes.
Here’s where we slightly deviated from the instructions, which say to fry the cakes up in a cast iron skillet with clarified butter. I didn’t feel like that was the easiest way so I used my huge electric frying pan instead. I was able to cook about five cakes at a time and used much less butter since the pan is non-stick. In no time at all, we were ready to eat!
They seemed a little sad until we dressed them up with a batch of the orange honey butter that is recommended as an accompaniment. It’s as straightforward as the name suggests: melt butter, add honey and orange zest. It was delicious!
That’s better! And some extra green onions would probably be nice…
Look at the sausage poking through the edges — that’s the good stuff!
So…what was the final decision on these? Weirdly enough the first one I ate didn’t impress me. I don’t know if it was because they were sturdier than I expected (perhaps due to the whole wheat flour) or if I held them to some old arepa standard without realizing it.
The good news is once we sat down with a plateful of these cakes, topped generously with the orange honey butter (and some with a maple butter I brought home last year from Canada), we became believers. There was just something totally addicting about them — I can’t quite my finger on it, but it was magical. They were good hot, room temperature and even cold. They would be great for breakfast, lunch or dinner…they would probably be good in a house with a mouse. Seriously.