Rhode Island Johnnycakes
Midway between a fritter and a pancake, crisp Rhode Island johnnycakes are best when made using stone-ground white cornmeal.
Variations on the johnnycake are found all along the eastern coast of the United States, as well as throughout the Caribbean. Midway between a pancake and a fritter, the Rhode Island version is most often made using a white, stone ground cornmeal batter, either griddled or shallow-fried into crispy, silver-dollar-sized patties. Each spring, Rhode Island granges, legion halls, and churches serve johnnycakes as a part of their annual May Breakfasts. They can be served as a sweet or savory finger food—topped with butter and maple syrup, or with minced onion and horseradish folded into the batter before cooking. If you find that the batter doesn’t easily settle into round cakes, thin it with a tablespoon or two of additional hot water.
Featured in: The 2020 Saveur 100: 81-90
- 1 cup stone ground white cornmeal (preferably Kenyon’s)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- Corn oil, for frying
- Salted butter, softened, for serving
- Maple syrup, honey, or molasses, for serving (optional)