Monday, March 7, 2016

Elote Corn Dip

Back in January, I went to Arizona for a long weekend and had the best time chowing down on lots of Mexican food. On our second night, we went to a restaurant called Elote Cafe in Sedona because the Yelp reviews were screaming with praise.

We dealt with a 30 minute wait at almost 9PM, which speaks to the popularity of the place, but it was all worth it for their delicious namesake dip: elote. It was so good that I decided that I needed to make it the second I got home. So, the weekend after I'd gotten back, I went to the store and bought out-of-season corn to whip up some elote.

I believe there is a recipe out there (I think the chef has his own book) but the reviews were less than stellar and most people said it didn't quite taste like the dish served in the restaurant so I branched off on my own and worked with the flavors in my memory. It came out really good and I can't wait for summer and corn season so I can make this (at least) weekly.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
6 to 8 ears of corn
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ to ⅓ cup olive oil
2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon hot sauce
½ cup grated Manchego cheese
2 oz. cotija cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
salt & pepper to taste
+ lime wedge
+ chopped cilantro
+ crumbled cotija cheese
+ ancho chili powder
+ tortilla chips

Start by roasting the corn. Ideally, I would have done this on the grill with the husks on. However, when I was making this (back in early February) our backyard was snow-covered and icy so I opted to do this indoors in my oven. So, I removed the husks and wrapped the corn in foil and roasted them in a hot oven (400F) for about 15 minutes until the cobs steamed themselves and the kernels plumped up.
While the corn is roasting, you can whip up the seasonings. The first step is to make a lime mayo, from scratch. Pop an egg yolk into a bowl along with the juice of half a lime (about 2 tablespoons).
Whisk the yolk and lime juice together. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking continuously, until a thick, luscious mayo forms. I hate store bought mayo (thinking about it literally nauseates me) but I am 100% okay with homemade mayo, especially when it's made with fresh citrus.
Whisk the softened cream cheese into the mayo and add in the chili powder and hot sauce.
Stir in the grated manchego cheese, crumbled cotija cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste.
The last ingredient is some chopped cilantro.
Once the corn is roasted, let it cool slightly and then cut the kernels off of the cob and stir into the seasoned mayonnaise.

Honestly, I don't know why people are always holding the cob vertical and then oddly slicing off the kernels. It's easier if you just lay the cob down and slice the corn right off. The corn doesn't go flying everywhere and it's must more stable.

Stir it all together and finish with a squeeze of lime.
Pour the elote dip into a serving bowl and top with a little more chili powder, chopped cilantro, and crumbled cotija. Serve with tortilla chips.
I absolutely love this stuff. The sweet corn contrasted with the salty, savory, tangy seasoning is incredible. I really enjoy the brightness of the lime, the creaminess that comes from the homemade mayo, the slight hint of spice from the chili powder and hot sauce, and the floral deliciousness of the cilantro. I also love that it's an elegant enough presentation to serve at a dinner party, but it's also a dip, so you can serve it as a snack to munch on whilst watching television. It's so sexy and versatile.
Here's the recipe page:

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