A few weeks ago, my cousin took me to one of her favorite Seattle restaurants, Señor Moose in Ballard, to try a corn dish that she adored. The description said roasted corn and epazote with cream, and I had a hard time imagining how that would taste, but I decided to trust her and take a chance. I’m glad that I did, because one bite of their famous Esquites appetizer, and I was sold.
I'm not normally one who likes creamy flavors mixed with citrus, but somehow in the Esquites, it just all blended together perfectly with the sweetness of the corn and the hint of spice. And, even though it's been weeks since I tasted it, I still dream about how delicious it was.
We’ve been playing around with creating a similar recipe here at home by looking up other fresh corn recipes now that our neighbors bring us ears of corn each week. We came up with our own version of the corn appetizer that uses manchego cheese instead of epazote and doesn’t have a cream base and wanted to share it so you can try it with all the fresh corn of the seaon. It’s not as amazing as what's at Señor Moose’s, but I must admit it’s pretty darn good.
Interested in trying it out? Let's get started:
- 6 ears of sweet yellow corn, roasted, unhusked and cut off the cob
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated manchego cheese
- 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lime, cut into 4 for juicing
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
- lime zest
Roast unhusked corn at 450°on a baking sheet, turning occasionally until heated through, about 15 minutes. Let cool and then cut kernels from cobs. You can prepare the corn in advance if necessary and simply refrigerate the corn until ready to prepare.
Next, you heat oil in large skillet over medium/high heat. Add corn kernels and sauté until heated through and light-golden in spots, about 5-7 minutes. Then add butter and stir until melted and delicious-looking.
Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large, wide bowl and add lime juice, jalapeño and crushed red pepper flakes, and then sprinkle with chives and 3/4 of the cheese and mix lightly. Garnish with remaining cheese and the lime zest.
You can serve the corn appetizer with tortilla chips in place of salsa for taco night, add to wraps and burritos, or simply eat it on its own as a side dish – it's that good. And, the best part is that it's just as good cold as it is prepared immediately, which makes it easy for entertaining because you can prep in advance. Rumor has it is just as good the next day as leftovers, but I can't speak to that personally because I've never had leftovers.