Esquites is essentially Mexican corn salad. Until my recent trip to New York City, esquites was unknown to me. I feel slightly ashamed of admitting that, since Mexican food is among my top three. Taco night is alive and well at the Wismer household. It is especially successful with the kids because taco night is always done family-style. I put a whole mess of toppings and fixings out and let the kids build their own. They love that power to the people type shit.
Back to the esquites. A friend of ours recommended Leigh and I visit a particular Mexican restaurant during our visit to New York. We obliged. After devouring way too much guacamole, Leigh and I decided it was only right that we share an entrée. Our fish tacos came out with a number of brilliant sides, one being esquites. At first glance I knew it would be love. The esquites resembled something between mac and cheese and creamed corn. When our waiter dropped by the table we had to know more, what was this corn dish? Was it an “American” Mexican dish, or was it the real deal? He assured us it was. We left there knowing we would be recreating it as soon as possible.
Like any girl looking for a recipe I headed to Pinterest, I found one on seriouseats.com and gave it a whirl. It was quick, easy and delicious.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 4 ears of corn, shucked, kernels removed
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 ounces feta or cotija cheese, finely crumbled
- 1/2 cup finely sliced scallion greens
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and stemmed, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lime
- Chili powder or hot chili flakes, to taste
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add corn kernels, season to taste with salt, toss once or twice and cook for about 2 minutes until charred. Toss corn, stir and repeat until charred on the other side, about 2 more minutes. Continue tossing and charring until well charred all over.
- Meanwhile, add mayonnaise, cheese, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, and chili powder to a large bowl and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and more chili powder to taste. Add charred corn and mix well. Serve immediately.
Slightly adapted from seriouseats.com
The esquites I made at home was not exactly like the one I experienced in New York. The restaurant version was warmer and cheesier. Nonetheless, I was super happy with the recipe from Serious Eats and so was the family. Well, not all the kids, but what else is new? Bottom line, it will be a staple at taco night.
Be warned, a few kernels of corn popped out of the pan across the kitchen. Have your splash or grease guard handy before you start charring your corn.
Next up, making my own tortillas. I am deeply inspired by this man right now, Enrique Olvera. I highly recommend you watch him and others on Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Each chef exudes such passion and focus, it’s inspiring.
To Mexican food and passion!