Fritters are a perfect food. You can tuck all sorts of treats into them and they just hold onto them and coax all the flavours together in a crispy-edged little bundle. Also, if you can flip a pancake, you can cook a fritter (and if you can’t flip a pancake, these are easier than cooking pancakes, I’d argue). Fritters are also a super gentle intro into frying. They’re not submerged in oil, but they’re definitely an unambiguously fried food. So you’ll have that to add to your list of skills should you choose to wander down this road.
Oh – I’d also like to add that you don’t need to poach eggs for this recipe (a fried egg on top would work perfectly well), but should you decide that poaching is the way to go, I eagerly refer you to my perfect poached eggs post. Once you read the post it’ll be much easier to bully you into pursuing that option because truly this recipe goes from appealing to insanely photogenic when you pop a poached egg on it. That ooze! C’mon you cannot - just cannot! - get that unencumbered ooze from another form of egg.
Shrimp and Grits Fritters w/ Chorizo + Spicy Mayo
Loosely inspired by Chelsea Kyle (Epicurious)
1 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp hot sauce
½ cup cornmeal
¾ cup all-purpose flour, measured correctly
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp Old Bay seasoning
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp kosher salt + more to taste
1 large egg (raw) + 4 poached eggs for serving
1 cup buttermilk
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
½ lb baby shrimp, peeled and pre-cooked (this is the kind you buy for shrimp salad)
½ cup finely diced Spanish chorizo
1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (carved off of ~2 ears of corn)
¾ cup grated, aged white cheddar cheese
Canola oil, for frying
Lemon wedges + chopped chives, for serving
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Whisk together the mayo and hot sauce in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (if you’re fancy, you can also transfer it to a squeezy bottle). In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, Old Bay, smoked paprika, and kosher salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the raw egg and buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Mix in the scallions, jalapeño, shrimp, chorizo, corn kernels, and cheddar.
Heat 2-3 tbsp canola oil in a large, heavy skillet set over medium heat. You will want to keep topping up and thoroughly reheating the oil as needed to maintain a very shallow layer of oil in the pan at all times. Nothing is quite as preventable as fritters that haven’t been fried in enough oil, resulting in some crispy bits and some drier, sadder bits. While the oil heats, prepare a baking sheet by setting a cooling rack inside it then lining that with paper towel. Set aside. Once the oil is nice and HOT, scoop ¼-cupfuls of the batter into the pan, frying ~2-3 fritters at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Use a spoon to smooth the fritters down into fat circles. Cook the fritters for 2-4 minutes per side, until crispy and golden-brown. Keep an eye on the heat, making sure nothing gets too smoky and scooping any burnt bits out from the bottom of the pan. Transfer the fritters to the paper towel-lined baking sheet, immediately sprinkle with salt, and place in the oven to keep warm while you fry the remaining batches. I’ve made this recipe a few times now and find that it makes anywhere from 10-12 fritters, depending on how generous your ¼-cupful scoops are. If doing poached eggs, cook or reheat them while the fritters fry.
Once all of the fritters have been fried, place 2-3 on each serving plate. Top with a poached egg, a drizzle of the spicy mayo, and a generous sprinkling of chopped chives. Serve with lemon wedges on the side and a smile that conveys how smug and proud you are of your breakfast-making prowess.