Sunday, April 24, 2016

HFF 2.9: Mock Foods

The Challenge: Mock Foods.

The Recipe: "Mock Oysters of Corn", page 193 of Miss Leslie's Complete Cookery: Directions for Cookery in its Many Branches
Take a dozen and a half ears of large young corn, and grate all the grains off the cob as fine as possible. Mix with the grated corn three large table-spoonfuls of sifted flour, the yolks of six eggs well beaten. Let all be well incorporated by hard beating. 
Have ready in a frying-pan an equal proportion of lard and fresh butter. Hold it over the fire till it is boiling hot, and then put in portions of the mixture as nearly as possible in shape and size like fried oysters. Fry them brown, and send them to table hot. They should be near an inch thick. 
This is an excellent relish at breakfast, and may be introduced as a side dish at dinner. In taste it has a singular resemblance to fried oysters. The corn must be young.
The Date/Year and Region: American, 1853 (49th ed.)/1837

How Did You Make It: (Half-scale) Heated 1/2 cup butter and a similar amount of lard on the stove. Grated two ears of corn, then used a knife to remove the kernels from the rest, as the operation was slow and messy.  Pounded the kernels, and mixed in 3 eggs and 1 1/2 Tbsp flour.  Dropped into the boiling fats and cooked until brown.

The first batch tended to come apart, so I added another ~1/4 cup of flour for subsequent batches, and they stayed together much better. The grease overheated after the second pan, so I started fresh with straight lard.  The "mock oysters" fried easier after that, but tasted basically the same.

Time to Complete: No clock in the historic kitchen.  It mixed up quickly (less than ten minutes), but it took a while to cook the endless-bowl-of-corn-batter.

Total Cost: Around $7.

How Successful Was It?: Every who tried them liked them.  Quinn thought they tasted a bit like fried oysters--enough to earn the name "mock fried oysters" but not enough to fool anyone.  Not eating oysters myself, I couldn't say; I they tasted like the state fair (fried corn), and were quite palatable, though a little salt would be a nice addition.  Definitely serve hot.  The half-receipt made plenty for 6 people.    

How Accurate Is It?: Meddling noted in the "how did you make it" section.  Used frozen corn rather than fresh, as it's not in season at the moment.  I would be interested in trying this again with young corn and seeing how that changes the taste.  Scraping the corn also produced more whole kernels than grating it did, but I think that was a necessary change (the grating was taking a long time and making a mess, and mashing the kernels after removing them produced the same effect quicker and with less waste).
Corn batter for "Mock Oysters of Corn" from Miss Leslie's Complete Cookery 1837/1853

"Mock Oysters of Corn" from Miss Leslie's Complete Cookery 1837/1853

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