After last week’s excursion to the library book sale where I picked up some new-to-me cookbooks, I wasn’t sure there was any more room on my bookshelves for yet another cookbook. I’m pleased to announce that I was able to find the room for Emeril Lagasse’s latest, "Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh," that I was sent a copy of to review. The celebrity chef dedicates this book to “all the farmers and fishermen who keep on keepin’ on.” 

After a short introduction where we learn of Emeril’s local food roots on his uncle’s farm and his father’s backyard garden, he jumps into 152 recipes arranged by categories: the herb garden; milk, eggs and cheese; leafy greens; corn, beans and squash; nightshades; berries, figs and melons; the orchard; cole crops; thistles, stalks and pods; roots, shoots, tubers and bulbs; winter fruits; from the mill; fresh off the dock; out on the range; and preserving the harvest.

There are several familiar recipes here that Emeril puts his own twist on like Pumpkin Custard Pie or Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers. There are also not so familiar recipes that really caught my attention like Nectarine and Mascarpone Tart in a Sugar Cookie Crust or Green Onion Spoonbread.

My 8-year-old sous chef has already poured over the book and has told me that we’re going to make Apple Tarragon Granita and Triple-Chocolate Pecan Fudge.

I have a feeling I’ll be pulling this recipe book out a lot this summer. I’m waiting for my garden eggplants and tomatoes so I can make Eggplant Parmesan Napoleon with Spicy Tomato Sauce or the Cheesy Creole Tomato Pie. And, in a week or two when the Jersey corn hits the farm stands, I’ll definitely be trying my hand at the following.

Corn Oysters

These fritters, though made entirely of corn, resemble fried oysters, hence their name. They are traditional summer fare, made from fresh-shucked corn straight from the field. When corn is plentiful at the market, get as much as you can and enjoy it every which way.
·       4 ears fresh corn
·       2 eggs, whites and yolks reserved separately
·       2 tablespoons heavy cream
·       2 tablespoons minced jalapeno
·       1 cup all-purpose flour
·       2 teaspoons baking powder
·       1 1/4 teaspoon salt
·       1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
·       Pinch sugar
·       Vegetable oil, for frying
·       Emeril’s Original Essence or other Creole seasoning, for garnish
1.     Holding the base of one ear of corn into a medium bowl, cut the kernels off, slicing halfway through each kernel. Using the back of the knife or a small spoon, scrape downward along the cob to extract the milk from the corn into the bowl with the cut kernels. Cut again along the cob, this time cutting close to the cob, so as to remove the remaining half of the kernels. Repeat with remaining cobs.
2.     In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Then add the yolks to the corn. Stir in the heavy cream and jalapenos.
3.     Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne, and sugar. Stir the flour mixture into the corn mixture, until just combined. Do not overmix.
4.     Beat egg whites until medium to stiff peaks form. Fold the whites into corn mixture until thoroughly combined.
5.     Fill a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or deep iron skillet halfway up the sides (2 to 4 inches deep) with the vegetable oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F.
6.     When the oil is hot, carefully add the corn mixture by 2 tablespoonfuls to the hot oil, working in batches and taking care as to not overcrowd the oil. While cooking, the corn kernels may sputter hot oil, be careful: a splatter screen may come in handy. Fry fritters 6 minutes, or until golden and cooked through, turning the fritters as needed for even color. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Season with the Essence and serve immediately.

Yield: 24 fritters

Images and recipe used with permission 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Cookbook: Emeril's 'Farm to Fork'
Emeril Lagasse's latest cookbook celebrates local, seasonal, farm fresh foods.