“What grows together truly goes together” is a quote from the July 2015 Bon Appétit article about French chef Alain Passard. Monsieur Passard owns several farms in France from which he procures the fruits and vegetables for his Paris restaurant, L’Arpège. He is known for serving barely-tampered with produce on his plates, and it is this minimalism and appreciation for nature that made him famous.
The idea really stuck with me. “What grows together, goes together” should be a no-brainer, but it’s easy to see how this simple idea got lost in a world obsessed with innovation, the next BIG thing. The synergy of tomatoes and cucumbers, peaches and blueberries, or squash and corn, is undeniable.
My mom makes squash fritters anytime she has too much squash on our hands that’s in danger of going bad. When I still lived at home, I used to love the sweet smell of these guys frying in the kitchen. We used to eat them piping hot from the skillet with lots of cool sour cream (any Ukrainian’s favorite condiment for everything). Now that I live alone and am in charge of my own squash fritters, I wanted to give them a funky twist with amazingly fresh farmers market corn and cashew cream instead of sour cream. Between the creamy squash, crunchy bursts of sweet corn, spicy garlic, and a smoky sauce to round it all out, these fritters are an irresistible summer treat.
Let’s talk about this cashew cream recipe. I picked up this trick from NGI, where we use cashews and coconut as substitutes for many dairy products. I do not believe that anything can replace dairy, and will not try to convince you of it; we both know nothing compares to the rich, umami taste of full fat dairy – especially sour cream. But, cashew cream is amazing in its own right. It’s creamy, satisfying and actually good for you, so you can eat it with abandon.
These fritters are great straight out of the skillet, as well as warm or at room temperature. Chipotle sauce can be found in the international foods aisle of your supermarket or in Mexican markets (I used La Morena brand).
For the cashew cream:
- 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in cold water for 4 hours
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon chipotle sauce
For the fritters:
- 2 ears corn, husks and silks removed
- 2 large yellow squash, grated
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- About 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3-4 tablespoons organic canola oil
To make cashew cream:
- Drain soaked cashews and place in a blender, along with filtered water, lime juice and salt. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. If mixture appears less than creamy, add a tablespoon more water.
- Add chipotle sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
- Transfer to a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve. (Sauce will last up to 2 days in the fridge).
To make fritters:
- Place corn flat on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cobs. Place kernels in a large bowl; discard cobs (or reserve for vegetable stock).
- Working with a handful of grated squash at a time, squeeze as much liquid out as you can.
- Add squash, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper to bowl with corn. Stir to thoroughly combine.
- Gradually stir in flour. The batter should hold together but not be lumpy or dry.
- In a large skillet over medium-low heat, heat enough oil to evenly coat the bottom of the skillet.
- Drop tablespoon-fulls of batter into skillet and cook until golden brown and crisp, 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook other side. Cook in batches; do not overcrowd the skillet. Transfer fritters to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Serve fritters with cashew cream.