July 31, 2021
With fresh basil and a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar, the dish expresses a very specific moment in the year. I think you will feel the same.
Heat the olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add three quarters of the garlic and cook, stirring often, until it just becomes fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds; do not let it brown. Add the jalapeño and tomato paste, stirring well to break up and incorporate the tomato paste. Turn the heat up to medium high, add the string beans and cook, stirring to coat, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes begin to melt, 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low, add the thyme sprigs, and simmer until the beans are tender and the tomatoes have completely melted into a thick, chunky sauce (there should be no watery liquid remaining), 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs. Stir in the butter, if you wish, and half of the basil. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, combine the corn kernels, remaining minced garlic, shallots, eggs, remaining teaspoon of salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon of pepper in a medium-size bowl. Stir well to incorporate the eggs, then stir in the flour until fully incorporated. The batter will be firm enough to hold together but loose enough to spread slightly in the pan.
Place several paper towels on top of a wire cooling rack. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer, then reduce the heat to medium. Working in batches, use a large spoon to fill a 1/3-cup measure with the batter and then use the
spoon to help release the batter directly into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the corn fritters until they are golden brown and crispy, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Transfer the fritters to the prepared cooling rack and sprinkle them lightly with salt. Reduce the heat to low between batches and remove any stray corn kernels left in the oil. Bring the heat back up to medium and continue to fry another round of fritters. Reduce the heat again if the fritters brown too quickly at any time or if the corn starts to pop.