Grain corn is a terrific option for anyone trying to eat more local and seasonal foods. But you need to find a variety to buy (or grow in your garden) that has good flavor, and most of the common yellow dent corn raised around the world is not a good choice; it’s flavor is bland. Here at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we recommend an heirloom open-pollinated red flint corn called ‘Floriani Red Flint’; it has a wonderful corn flavor. (Seeds are available from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and FEDCO seed co-op.) Here’s the recipe we’ve developed for corn pancakes using ‘Floriani’ corn.
1 cup fresh, coarsely ground cornmeal
4 cups water
Salt, to taste
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup fine cornmeal
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1/2 cup oil
Buttermilk (or milk with a splash of vinegar stirred in), as needed
Combine 1 cup fresh, coarsely ground cornmeal with 4 cups water, plus salt to taste. Simmer in double boiler until tender (usually takes several hours) or cook in microwave for one hour on low. This makes about 2 1/2 cups of polenta/grits.
Mix together dry ingredients: 1 cup wheat flour, 1 cup fine cornmeal, 2 tsp baking soda and 2 tsp baking powder (plus 1/4 cup sugar, optional).
To the dry ingredients, add 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil and about 1/2 to 1 cup of the cooked polenta/grits, plus enough buttermilk (or use regular milk with a splash of vinegar stirred in) to make a batter that pours easily.
Cook ’em up — moist pancakes with such a lovely corn flavor you don’t even really need any butter or syrup on them. You can make the pancakes without the extra grits, if you don’t have time to cook the grits, but I think the flavor and texture are better with the grits.
For more about ‘Floriani’ corn, see The Return of a Great Corn Variety and How to Make Grits, aka Polenta, from ‘Floriani Red Flint’ Corn.