25 September 2014

Esquites Con Tostados

Chris and I have gone to Oakland's Eat Real Festival for a few years running now, and naturally they have amazing food. This year, I think the winners (in our eyes, at least) were the lamb poutine and the sweet potato waffle pie (with salted bourbon butterscotch syrup). We ate so much of those that we didn't have room for an old favorite of mine, NIDO's Esquite Placero.

Now, I tried translating "Esquite Placero" (via Google, of course), and apparently it's meaningless drivel. As far as I can figure, it is referencing esquites, which is a roasted corn dish with cotija cheese. NIDO's "Placero" is served up on a plate, unlike (so I read) esquites. But the major points of roasted corn and cotija cheese are definitely met. And it is delicious. What more can you ask for?

My take is certainly a bit different then NIDO's; hitting up the highlights of roasted corn and pepper, toasted pepitas, crumbled cotija, all served over some excellent tortilla chips. I, however, went the route of tomatillo salsa rather than aioli.

Esquites Con Tostados (Roasted Corn with Tortilla Chips)
serves 4

2 ears of corn
2 red bell peppers
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Tomatillo Salsa
1 pound tomatillos
4 jalapenos
4 cloves garlic
handful of cilantro
salt to taste

Cotija cheese
Tortilla chips (I made oven-baked chips: day-old tortillas tossed with canola oil and salt, baked [in a single layer on a cookie sheet] at 350°F for 12 min)

1. De-paper and blend the tomatillos with the rest of the salsa ingredients

2. Broil the bell peppers and the corn*

3. Once charred, remove from the oven and cover the peppers with a damp cloth for a few minutes

4. While the peppers are steaming, turn oven to 350°F and toast the pumpkin seeds (in a single layer in a metal pan with a rim) for 10-15 minutes (if making home-baked chips, you can put them in the oven with the seeds)

5. Cut the corn off the cob

6. Remove the charred skin from the peppers, then mince coarsely

7. Once the pumpkin seeds are toasted, toss together with the corn and the pepper

8. Crumble the cotija

9. On a plate, layer the tortilla chips with the roasted veg & seed mix, the cheese and the salsa

* Note: I just read a suggestion to cut the corn off the cob and fry it up in some oil until pleasantly brown rather than broil it. I'll try this next time.