Kale & Corn Fritters
I really enjoy eating dark leafy greens. I love the texture, the taste and their versatility. My 16 month daughter (I will call her Potpot here from now on), does not share my passion…yet. I see her carefully pick off shreds of wilted kale from other, more desirable, foods on her plate. She more often than not puts rocket or baby spinach in her mouth only to promptly spit them back out, screwing up her little nose. When we have Asian greens, she will politely hand them back to me when they find their way into her bowl. What is a dietitian-mother to do???
Even when they are spat out, I don’t mind. I know toddlers need to eat greens (and all other sorts of vegetables) but as the wise Ellyn Satter (dietitian) makes clear: it is my responsibility to provide the right foods at appropriate times and it is my little one’s responsibility to decide what, how much, or even if, she will eat. I also know that toddlers are often neophobic (that is, they don’t always enjoy trying new things) and it takes multiple exposures to certain foods before they feel confident to actually eat them. So I keep offering. They go on the plate or in the bowl and Potpot gets positive reinforcement for all interactions she has with them – smelling, touching, licking, tasting, – not only eating. That said, I don’t go over the top with praise or jump up and down if she tries a new vegetable – I might say something like – “You tried the zucchini and it tasted different to what you were expecting, that is ok, you can try it again another time”. I know that by being exposed to these delicious and nutritious foods daily, and by her father and I modelling positive eating behaviours with these foods, chances are one day she will come to enjoy them as much as I do.
I came up with this recipe when I was making corn fritters and had a bunch of cavolo nero (Tuscan kale) that needed using sitting in the vegetable crisper. This recipe was not something I made up to ‘sneak’ green vegetables into my daughter’s diet. In fact, sneaking foods into kids meals can be counterproductive long term as they don’t get to have the conscious experience of engaging with the food – which is when the learning occurs. The fact that these are a delightful emerald green means that there is no chance of our Potpot not noticing that they contain some kind of green vegetable matter.
They are delicious. Potpot agrees. She will eat several in one sitting and then will eat them again the following day for a snack or lunch. We tend to eat them for dinner but they also would be a lovely addition to a brunch menu. Serve with a chilli tomato relish or your favourite chutney and a big garden salad on the side. They keep well for lunch the next day and can be eaten cold, or gently reheated. Make them now before the last sweet corn disappears before winter settles in.
Sorry but these fritters never seem to last long enough for me to snap a decent picture… when I make them again I will try and get organised enough to post a finished product picture! You will have to use your imaginations this time.
Corn & Kale Fritters
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
1 bunch cavolo nero (Tuscan kale) or curly kale, washed, large stems removed, roughly chopped
2 large or 3 small/medium cobs sweet corn (white or yellow), kernels removed
½ cup + 2 tbsp Wholemeal self-raising flour
½ cup fine polenta
scant ¾ cup milk or buttermilk
3 spring onions, whites and greens, finely chopped
1 tsp aluminium free baking powder
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
¼ cup crumbled goat or sheep feta
pinch red chilli flakes
pinch cracked black pepper
- Place all ingredients except corn kernels, feta cheese and olive oil in the food processor and blend until well combined.
- Remove into a mixing bowl and fold through corn kernels to distribute evenly.
- Gently fold through feta cheese.
- Heat oven to lowest setting (to keep fritters warm once cooked).
- Heat olive oil over medium heat and shallow fry 1-2 dessertspoons of fritter mixture for approximately 3 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. I sometimes gently spread the fritter mixture out a little with the back of the spoon to help them cook evenly. Gently flip using a spatula and cook a further 2 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides.
- Remove from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towel.
- Keep warm in oven whilst the remaining fritters are cooked.
Note: To reduce the energy density of these fritters, cook using a smear of oil only on a non-stick fry pan.
Troubleshooting: If the fritters are sticking or falling apart, whisk in an extra dessertspoon or two of flour to thicken up the batter a little.