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The savory sleeper hit of summer meals

It’s quite possible that the name of this recipe undersells just how good it really is. These savory cakes are chewy, and chock-full of nubby corn kernels and earthy spices, with juicy deposits of spinach. Thanks to a generous amount of

Stacy Zarin Goldberg/For The Washington Post
Use local corn to make these griddled, nubby Corn and Spinach Pancakes.

baking powder, they puff up more like fritters, yet cook in only a slick of oil in the pan.

Local corn is coming in and you could use fresh kernels here, of course. You can also take advantage of the sweet, in-season crop and freeze it yourself. To do so, choose cobs that look plump and feel firm through the husk. At home, strip the cobs of husks and silk, then use tongs to place them in a pot of boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of cold water until cool. Figure the yield is about 1 cup per ear. (Could you toss those cobs in the freezer to make a simple corn broth later? Absolutely.)

That’s it. You can freeze on the cob or off; I prefer having kernels ready to go, so I use a chef’s knife to cut off a couple of rows, creating a flat surface for it to sit on the cutting board without rolling. Then it’s just a few quick turns and cuts, and the kernels are in pile that’s easy to scrape into a zip-top bag. Label, seal and freeze for up to a year.

Back to the pancakes at hand: Serve them with your favorite salsa or a fried egg. They make an easy and satisfying summer dinner meal.


4 to 5 servings (makes 10 3-inch pancakes)

2 ounces (about 1 cup) bagged frozen spinach (not in a block)

9 ounces frozen corn kernels (about 2 cups)

1¼ cups flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (sweet or hot)

1 large egg

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan

½ cup cold water

Place the corn and spinach in separate microwave-safe bowls; place in the microwave and defrost in 20-second increments, until they are slightly warm.

Use a fork or a whisk to stir together the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the coriander, cumin and smoked paprika in a mixing bowl.

Stir in the egg and the tablespoon of oil until well blended, then add the water and defrosted corn, stirring to form a thick batter. (We used multicolored corn here.)

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s quite hot, add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Use ¼ cup of the batter for each pancake. As soon as it hits the pan, flatten each portion a bit, so the pancake is about 3 inches across. Scatter some of the defrosted spinach atop each pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden.

Transfer to a platter and cover loosely to keep warm while you repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan, as needed.

Sprinkle with the remaining salt; serve hot.

PER PANCAKE (based on 10): 130 calories; 5 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 240 mg sodium; 20 g total carbohydrates; 2 g dietary fiber; 3 g sugars; 4 g protein.

– Adapted from “Posh Pancakes: Over 70 Recipes, From Hoppers to Hotcakes,” by Sue Quinn (Quadrille Publishing, 2018).