Photo by: Jonathan Lovekin

Corn cakes with beetroot and apple salad

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5 medium corn cobs, husks removed, or 500g frozen corn kernels, de-frosted
3 small banana shallots, finely diced (100g)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely crushed
1 tsp ground cumin, lightly toasted
1 tsp celery seeds
15g tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp baking powder
80g unsalted butter, melted, plus 20g extra for greasing the moulds
2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
2 tbsp plain flour
60g feta, broken into 6 or 12 chunks (depending on size of muffin tray)
coarse sea salt and black pepper

Beetroot and apple salad:
120g Greek yoghurt
2 tsp Valdespino sherry vinegar (or another good-quality sherry vinegar) 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, roasted and coarsely crushed, plus 1/2 tsp extra, to garnish
1/2 tsp celery seeds
15g parsley, roughly chopped
2 medium raw beetroot, peeled and julienned (200g)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and julienned (140g), kept covered with water with some lemon juice, to prevent discoloration, if prepared in advance

To serve:
5g baby basil or small regular basil leaves

These manage to pull off the trick of being totally light but utterly creamy at the same time. Other cheeses also work instead of the feta: Gorgonzola, for example, if you want something a bit punchier.

If you want to go for restaurant-style presentation on the other hand, use the corn husks (rather than baking parchment) to line the tins. They look lovely – like little bamboo baskets. To do this, peel off the husks: you should have about 18 pieces. Discard any stringy bits and place the remainder in a bowl, well covered with water. Set aside for 30 minutes, for the husks to soften, then trim them with scissors to make them shorter and easier to line the base of the muffin tins.

If you are looking for a shortcut, just serve the corn cakes with a crisp green salad, rather than the beetroot and apple. Fresh radishes are also lovely, halved and tossed in some olive oil, with a good pinch of coarse sea salt.

If you use a regular muffin tin – where the moulds are 5cm wide at the base and 3cm deep – you’ll make 12 muffins, so everyone gets served two. You can also use a larger muffin tin – where the moulds are 7cm wide and 41/2cm deep – to make 6 larger cakes, so that everyone has one.

Serves 6 as a generous starter or light lunch

(p 209, NOPI The Cookbook)

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Perfect with

  1. Valdespino sherry vinegar

    A few drops goes a long way with this rich and distinctive spanish vinegar

    Valdespino sherry vinegar
    £8.50

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