inspired the filling for these empanadas. Red, poblano
and serrano peppers keep the corn company, while a
cream-based sauce brings the flavors together.
hard to think of a more-perfect combination of summer
flavors: Crisp, charred sweet corn. Creamy mayonnaise. Salty
cheese. Spicy chilies. Acidic lime juice.
a flavor combination well-loved in Mexico and in big cities
in the United States, where itís known as Mexican street
corn, aka elotes.
whoís ever had American-style creamed corn or corn chowder
knows why the combination of cream and corn is so
good," says Rick Bayless, chef and co-owner of several
Chicago Mexican restaurants, including Frontera Grill and
Cruz Blanca. "Add the umami punch of salty, aged cheese
and chili with a little salt, and you have everything ó
tangy, salty, sweet and umami. If youíre grilling the
corn, youíll get some char, and then youíll have bitter
too. So, youíll have all of the classic flavor
modern Mexican restaurant Cantina 1910 in Chicago, executive
chef Scott Shulman offers up a classic riff on elotes known
as esquites, which is essentially Mexican sweet corn but in
a classic flavor," Shulman says. "In America, weíre
very used to it. It translates to our flavor memory."
likes to use the freshest-possible corn and homemade
mayonnaise in his salad. The restaurant uses a brown
butter-mayonnaise, along with corn broth, hominy, dehydrated
lime, Morita peppers, cilantro and epazote. Later this
summer, Shulman plans to lighten the dish a bit using queso
fresco and a bruleed corn meringue.
wonderful thing about this flavor combination is that itís
so versatile. It can be played up in salads, corn puddings,
macaroni and cheese ó even in frozen pops.
definitely says summer," Shulman says.
easy to create a nondairy, vegan version as well. Wes
Allison, Austin, Texas-based co-author of the
tongue-in-cheek "The Taco Cleanse: The Tortilla-Based
Diet Proven to Change Your Life," created an elotes
taco filling for the book that uses no animal products.
makes his own vegan mayonnaise but says there are many good
options on store shelves. He uses nutritional yeast for the
savory, cheesy flavor. And he likes to wrap the corn filling
in a corn tortilla, but says it also works well in a pasta
salad or simply on its own as esquites.
a great summertime side dish to go with grilling and
barbecuing," Allison says.
Merlos-Ruiz, owner and chef at Tomate Fresh Kitchen in
Evanston, Ill., grew up eating lots of corn in Guatemala but
hadnít tried Mexican street corn until she moved to
Chicago. At her restaurant, she likes to add a spicy, creamy
corn filling to her empanadas, tamales and chicken tacos
with grilled onions.
adds sweetness," Merlos-Ruiz says. "I love the pop
of color in there."
Enough filling for 16 tacos
vegan filling recipe from "The Taco Cleanse" by
Wes Allison, Stephanie Bogdanich, Molly R. Frisinger and
Jessica Morris can be used in tacos, salads, pasta salads
and a variety of other dishes. For the mayonnaise, you can
sub a store-bought vegan (or nonvegan) version.
tablespoons lime juice
cup unsweetened soy milk
tablespoon agave nectar
teaspoon each: black pepper, salt
of corn, husks and silk removed
oil cooking spray
tablespoons nutritional yeast
teaspoon chili powder
the mayonnaise, use a 1-quart, wide-mouth canning jar and an
immersion blender. (Alternatively, a food processor or
blender will work.) Add lime juice and soy milk to the jar.
Insert the immersion blender into the jar. With the
immersion blender running at its fastest speed, pour the oil
in a constant, slow, thin steam into the jar. It will take a
couple of minutes, but the liquid will thicken into
mayonnaise consistency. Add the agave nectar, pepper and
salt; blend for a few seconds to combine.
the corn, set the oven to broil. Lightly mist the ears of
corn with cooking spray; arrange on a baking sheet. Roast on
the center rack, rotating every 3 to 5 minutes, 12 to 15
Allow the corn to cool until cool enough to handle. Cut the
stem off the cob, hold the corn vertically, cut side down,
in a shallow bowl. With a sharp knife, remove the kernels
from the cob using a downward sawing motion. Repeat with all
ears. Stir in 1 cup of the mayonnaise; garnish with
nutritional yeast and chili powder. Use filling for tacos or
eat as is; give it a squeeze of lime before serving.
information per serving: 135 calories, 10 g fat, 1 g
saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 g carbohydrates, 4 g
sugar, 2 g protein, 33 mg sodium, 1 g fiber
4 side dish servings or enough filling for 32 empanadas
Tania Merlos, owner of Tomate Fresh Kitchen in Evanston.
Leftovers make a great salad or side dish.
teaspoon garlic, minced
of corn, grilled, kernels cut from the cobs
zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
bell pepper, seeded, cut in small dice
poblano pepper, seeded, cut in small dice
serrano pepper, seeded, cut in small dice
cup heavy cream
cup vegetable stock
poblano peppers, seeded, chopped
serrano pepper, seeded, chopped
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until
melted; add the leek and garlic. Cook until translucent. Add
the corn, zucchini, peppers, cumin, and salt and pepper to
taste. Saute until fragrant.
the sauce, in a separate pan, over medium heat, add the
cream, stock, peppers, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook
until cream reduces by one-quarter. Stir well. Add to corn
mixture. Cook until heated through; serve as is, or cool and
use as an empanada filling.
information per serving: 125 calories, 8 g fat, 4 g
saturated fat, 21 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrates, 4 g
sugar, 3 g protein, 17 mg sodium, 2 g fiber
Enough for 16 empanadas
from chef and restaurateur Rick Baylessí empanadas de
flour, plus extra for rolling
cup lard or 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup very warm tap water
Pour the flour into a large bowl. Work in the fat with your
fingers until homogenous. Dissolve the salt in the hot
water; work it into the flour mixture, creating a
medium-stiff dough. Knead just enough to bring the dough
Divide the dough into 16 portions, roll each into a ball,
set on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at
least 30 minutes.
a lightly floured surface, roll out a ball of dough into a
5-inch diameter circle. Lightly brush the perimeter with
water. Add about 3 tablespoons of filling on one side. Fold
the uncovered side over the filling, expelling as much air
as possible; press the two edges together. Place the
empanada on a baking sheet. Seal the edges together with the
tines of a fork. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake in a 400-degree oven, 15-20 minutes. Or, fry in
350-degree oil until deep golden, about 4 to 5 minutes per
side. Drain on paper towels before serving.
information per serving (for the dough only): 115 calories,
4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 16 g
carbohydrates, 0 g sugar, 2 g protein, 110 mg sodium, 1 g