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4 Delicious Mexican Corn Dishes with Beer Pairings

4 Delicious Mexican Corn Dishes with Beer Pairings

As the sunshine season grows brighter and the heat of summer picks up, it also invites peak grub time for the predominantly golden and starchy vegetable favorite, corn. This wildly popular cereal grain and versatile new world food is grown in all 50 states, but it can discern its descent from Southern Mexico, 10,000+ years ago.

Today, this widely cultivated crop is enjoyed in a wide variety of ways all over the globe, but we want to highlight the origin of maize with four Latin-inspired corn recipes created by a few of our favorite chefs. Our well-versed culinary contributors share their individualized interpretation of glowed-up corn dishes with choice beer pairings sure to complement the bright, slightly sweet, ethanol ears at the heart of these dishes.


Mark LeFebvre, executive chef for Big Sky Mobile Catering in Missoula, Montana, is well-versed in everything fine dining, cooking at some of the country’s most exclusive resorts and hotels as well as elevated brewpub cuisine in Colorado. LeFebvre fuses his “modern American influences” with a deconstructed version of classic elotes with the addition of fanciful garnishments to “get your palate excited for the next bite!”

“I chose to pair this dish with Cranky Sam Brewing's El Vaquero Mexican Lager because this beer is bright and crisp, which balances nicely with the charred sweet corn,” says LeFebvre, who frequents his local brewery often. “The Mexican Lager cleanses your palate perfectly and couldn't be a better summer beer to pair with this dish.”

Mexican Street Corn Succotash

Mexican Street Corn Succotash

Ingredients:

6 ears Fresh Local Sweet Corn
½ lbs Shelled Edamame
2 tblsp Unsalted Butter
1 Bunch Scallions, sliced in thin rings(green and white parts)
1 tblsp Garlic, minced

Method of Preparation:

Shuck corn and char on grill or in a hot cast-iron skillet on all sides. Once corn has a good char on all sides, cut kernels from the cobb and re-serve.

Heat skillet to medium-high temperature, add butter, corn and shelled edamame.

Sautee until evenly heated, 2-3 minutes, reduce heat to medium-low, add scallions and garlic and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes until scallions and garlic are aromatic.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sambal Mayo

1 Cup mayonnaise
1½ tblsp Lime Juice
3 tblsp Sambal
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt

Method of Preparation:

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Adjust to desired taste with lime and salt.

Leftover Sambal Mayo can be stored in the fridge.

Garnish:

Pickled Peppers
Pickled Red Onions
Sambal Mayo
Crumbled Cotija Cheese
Chili Crisp (optional)
Lime Wedges
Lightly Chopped Fresh Cilantro

To Assemble:

Combine succotash with pickled peppers and onions, drizzle with sambal may and sprinkle with cheese, cilantro, and chili crisp if desired. Serve with lime wedges on the side. Enjoy with a Cranky Sam El Vaquero (Mexican Lager) or, local Mexican lager of your choice.


Pimento Elotes

Brother Luck, chef proprietor and two-time competitor on Bravo Network’s Top Chef, combines his multi-cultural background with his culinary prowess in bold presentations at his two restaurants: Four by Brother Luck and Lucky Dumpling in Colorado Springs, Colorado. To highlight his Creole heritage, Luck’s presents Mexican street corn with a “unique Southern flare” pairing it with Pomona, a barrel aged tart ale from Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder, Colorado.

“I always think a beverage pairing should be a part of the dish I’m eating,” says Luck. “Normally I would squeeze lime all over my elotes but the sourness of this beer works perfectly alongside that acidity instead. Take a bite of this corn and then go to the beer for a sip.”

Pimento Elotes

Ingredients:

Pimento Cheese
1 cup Cream Cheese 
1/2 cup Mayonnaise 
2 cups Cheddar
1 cup Pimentos canned (Drained)
2 tsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp Cholula Hot Sauce
1 oz Garlic
1 Shallot each
1 lime each (Zest and Juice) 
Salt and Pepper To Taste

Procedure:

Mix all ingredients together and season to taste. Chill before serving.

Elotes:

4 ears Fresh Corn
1 cup Pimento Cheese
1 cup Cotija Cheese (Crumbled)
2 oz. Chives (Finely Sliced)

Procedure:

Char the corn in the husk over direct flame until blackened, preferably outside. Peel back the husk and rub the entire cob with pimento cheese. Roll the cob in crumbled Cotija cheese and Sliced Chives. Serve warm with a cold beer.


Overstuffed Fresh Corn and Chili Pupusas

Tiffany Smejkal, executive chef/owner of Chef Tiffany LLC, provides her private chef services from Los Angeles to Napa, California, and impressively challenges corn to take new shape in her overstuffed pupusas. Smejkal says that her reiteration of the maize griddle cakes reminds her of college years in Miami, FL, dining daily at a family-owned El Salvadorian cafe. The full flatbreads are simpatico with one of her favorite beers: Don’t Be So Gloomy, a blend of one- to two-year-old barrel-aged Saisons by Sante Adairius Rustic Ales in Capitola, California.

“Spicy food and floral, high acid beer are often a magical pairing,” says Smejkal. “Rather than just drinking a beer to help cool down the heat of a spicy dish, a thoughtful pairing can actually transform and elevate the sensory experience. Its subtle notes of lime, salt, and barrel-induced vanilla perfectly complement the richness of the cheese and tempers the intense spice of the three different chilis, while the sweetness of the corn is seamlessly balanced by the high floral notes and zippy acidity this sour beer brings to the palate.”

Overstuffed Fresh Corn and Chili Pupusas

Ingredients:

Yields: 3
1 Ear of Corn, shucked
1/2 cup Oaxaca Cheese, diced-approximately the size of a corn kernel (alternatively use low moisture mozzarella)
1 Fresh Serrano Pepper, deseeded and finely diced
1 Fresh Habanero Pepper, deseeded and finely diced
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 Tablespoon of Aleppo Chili
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt (Dough) + 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt (Filling)
1½ Cup Corn Masa Flour (such as Maseca)
1 1/3 Cup Simmering Water; approximately 180 Degrees Fahrenheit
3 Tablespoons Pork Lard (or fat of choice such as Avocado Oil)
1 Cup Red Cabbage, thinly shaved
Juice of 1 Lime
Cilantro, for garnish

OPTIONAL: Habanero hot sauce (Vinegar-based)

Instructions:

Filling: Over medium-high heat, grill 1 ear of corn until lightly charred on all sides; approximately 7-8 minutes. Remove from grill and let cool. Cut corn off of the cobb and discard the cob. Mix cooled corn kernels with diced cheese, Serrano Peppers, Habanero Peppers, oregano, and ½ a teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

Dough: In a large bowl, use a spatula to mix masa, 1 tablespoon of salt, and water until well combined; about 1-2 minutes. Be careful as the bowl may be hot. Once cool enough, use hands to knead the dough for 1 minute or until the dough is smooth and has an even consistency. Form 1 large dough ball. Let rest uncovered in bowl for 15 minutes.

Divide dough into 6 equal sized balls (approximately 70-80 grams each). Place onto parchment paper and cover with a damp cloth. Let rest 5 minutes.

Continuing to work on the parchment paper, flatten 2 dough balls at a time so they create 2 equal sized disks, each about 5” in diameter. While forming the dough balls, work with wet hands. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and/or excessively cracking. Some cracking will occur, and this is ok - do not add water to the dough; just re-wet your hands with each new dough ball/disk you form.

Place 1 disk in the palm of your hand and make an indention large enough to fill with about 1/3 of the filling. Place the second disk on top and pinch sides closed. (If some filling sticks out it is fine-it will mold into the dough as we form the Pupusa). Once sealed, gently mold the Pupusa in your hands so that it has even thickness throughout the entire Pupusa. Utilize the tabletop to help form the desired puck shape. The sides should not be thinner than the rest of the Pupusa. It should have a consistent thickness and should be approximately 1” thick, resembling a large hockey puck. Once formed, set aside and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat with remaining dough balls and filling.

Meanwhile, preheat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 ½ tablespoon of lard. As soon as the lard is melted, add the Pupusas to the griddle and let cook for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown (during this time, if there is any excessive lard, remove from pan and discard). Once browned, add the remaining lard and flip the Pupusas to continue browning the other side. Cook for 5-6 more minutes. Remove from pan, and serve with cabbage, lime, cilantro and hot sauce.

Garnish: While the Pupusas are cooking, marinate the shaved cabbage in lime juice and salt to taste.


Backyard Loaded Elotes

Sheamus Feeley, chef/founder of SF Hospitality Group in Los Angeles, Denver and Tulsa, stays busy operating, creating and consulting in bars and restaurants nationwide. When he is at home cooking for his crew, Feeley finds creativity in the simple things and makes a fiery, textural example of what good family fun in the kitchen should taste like.

“I was watching my boys crush a bag of Takis and we started talking about how kids love putting Flamin' Hot Cheetos on things and I told them how we used to put Nacho Cheese Doritos on our turkey sandwiches,” says Feeley. “Skip ahead a few weeks and I was developing a new elotes-inspired dish for our new place. Instead of using smoked paprika or ground Chile, I decided to add Takis Fuego for heat and crunch.”

Feeley pairs his dish with the West Coast IPA from Green Flash Brewing Co. in San Diego, California, which he refers to as “a classic.”

“I love the balance of bitterness and sweetness,” says Feeley. “The hops extend a little of the addictive heat in the dish, but they’re balanced out nicely by a full mouthfeel and slight sweetness.”

Backyard Loaded Elotes

Ingredients:

3 ears of summer fresh corn cut into 1/3’s
1/4 cup Kewpie Mayonnaise
Nice big hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup Takis Fuego, crushed semi-fine
EVOO for grilling Kosher salt for water

Method:

Poach the shucked corn in boiling water (seasoned with salt) for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Hold at room temp until ready to grill.

Brush each piece of corn with EVOO and cook on a wood-fired or gas grill until caramelized on all sides. (About 2-3 minutes)

Remove from grill and brush with Kewpie mayo.

Use a microplane zester or fine cheese grater and grate cheese onto corn evenly and liberally.

Sprinkle crushed Taki’s Fuego on the cheese and transfer corn to a plate for serving.

Garnish with lime for the guest to squeeze as desired.