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Sour Corn Johnnycakes with Smoked Trout Dip and Ramp Chermoula

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Ingredients

For the smoked trout dip:

(Makes about 1½ quarts)

16 ounces smoked trout

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

14 ounces cream cheese

1½ tablespoons lemon juice

Scant ¼ cup sliced chives

For the ramp chermoula:

(Makes about 1 quart)

5 ounces lemon juice

1-2 ramps

2 tablespoons cumin

Pinch cayenne

2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika

1 cup parsley

¾ cup cilantro

6 tablespoons dijon mustard

½ ounce salt

Scant 1 cup olive oil

For the johnnycakes:

2½ cups cornmeal

½ cup flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat

1 egg

1 cup sour corn

1½ cups buttermilk

Cooking oil

Directions

  1. Make the smoked trout dip: Flake trout and set aside. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Fold trout into mixture until well incorporated—do not overwork. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt as needed (the trout is brined before smoking, so don’t add salt until you’ve mixed and tasted the dip). Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Make the ramp chermoula: In a blender, combine all ingredients except oil with 2 tablespoons water. Puree until smooth. With blender on low, add oil in a thin stream.
  3. Make the johnnycakes: In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add melted butter and bacon fat and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, beat egg thoroughly. Add sour corn and buttermilk and stir to combine. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until fully incorporated.
  4. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough cooking oil to coat bottom of pan. Using a large spoon or ¼-cup measuring cup, spoon out batter and drop into pan to form silver-dollar-sized cakes. Cook like pancakes—when tops begin showing bubbles and the edges have set, about 1 minute, flip and cook until golden brown, about 30 to 45 seconds more.
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