From Too Many Chefs - www.toomanychefs.com

May 16, 2006
Elotes Tacos, Albany Park style


Albany Park is one of Chicago's wonderful ethnic neighborhoods. Though sprinkled with Thai, Bosnian, and Arabic families, Albany Park is dominated by Latino influences. It happens to be where Barrett in Chicago and the Redhead currently live, and is a great place to find Latino food favorites.

Along the Chicago River on the East border of Albany Park is beautiful Horner Park. Every day, you can find kids and adults playing baseball, tennis, soccer, and basketball. When they get hungry from all the exercise, everyone heads to the carts on California Avenue where they buy mangos, pork skins with hot sauce, flavored shaved ices, and best of all elotes (corn).

When you buy elotes from the street carts, you can get it on a stick or in a cup with butter, cheese, and spicy chili powder. It's amazing. I've adapted the basic idea behind the elotes in a cup and made it into a taco filling. But don't worry, food-on-a-stick afficianados, we've got the original cob on a stick version as well (though I will admit my cheese sprinkle coating skills don't rate compared to the cart version).

The hot cayenne powder will make your lips tingle, but the sweet sweet corn will cut the burn on your tongue, letting you eat way too much of these tacos filled with elotes.

The Redhead last night declared this simple meal the best thing ever and her favorite dish. It was cheap, easy to make, and delicious. I can guarantee this is going to be a summer staple around our household.

Elotes Tacos, Albany Park style serves two very hungry adults
3 ears or corn
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2-3 ounces Cotija cheese, or other non-melty very finely crumbled cheese. Parmesan might be very interesting, if not Latin American.
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
salt and pepper to taste
6 flour tortillas, warmed
1 avocado, sliced
lime wedges

Put a big pot of water on to boil. Shuck your corn and discard all but a couple of the leaves of the inner green husk (not the silk, the leaves). Add the leaves to the pot. This is the great secret in boiling corn. More than the corn itself, this adds a wonderful corn aroma to the kitchen and flavor to the corn itself.

When the water is boiling, add the 3 ears of corn and boil until tender but not mushy - about 10-15 minutes for the average ear.

When the corn is done, remove it from the pot, and shave the corn from the cob with a sharp knife. I use a skewer to steady the cob without burning my fingers.

Mix the melted butter, cheese, cayenne, and salt and pepper into the corn kernels. Taste and adjust salt and pepper (and cayenne if you really like it hot).

Put the corn mix into warmed four tortillas, and add a couple of avocado slices. Serve with grilled bulb onions and a lime wedge. A little lime on the taco filling really wakes the corn flavor up.

Now if you'd like to try this the original way I experienced it (on a stick), put the butter in a corn dish or similar vessel where you can roll corn cobs in it and do the same for the cheese.

Boil the corn as above. Skewer the corn on a long stick, then roll the cobs first in butter, then the cheese, then sprinkle cayenne, salt and black pepper on them to taste. You'll find that the cheese won't stick where there is no butter, so make sure you have enough butter on the plate before rolling.

Eat outside in the sunshine in the middle of a beautiful Spring/Summer day.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at May 16, 2006 7:27 AM
Comments

Where did that corn come from? I seem to recall that - if you are lucky - it's "knee high by the fourth of July". Have they started importing it to the MIDWEST (shades of coal to Newcastle) in May??

Otherwise, looks like a tasty dish.

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 16, 2006 at 1:50 PM

I just read that California is now growing corn year round. I had some at Bets' last week and it was great.

Posted by Meg's MOM on May 16, 2006 at 2:18 PM

The corn was grown in Western Australia on a hydroponic farm in the shadow of Ayers Rock. It was shipped from Perth Australia to a whaling station at Tierra del Fuego where it was transferred to a Russian nuclear ice breaker disguised as a trawler. The Captain, one Jean-Pierre La Russe was addicted to methadone and cherry LifeSavers. Sensing a Brazillian Coast Guard patrol nearby, he jettisoned the corn cargo in the South Atlantic where it drifted until picked up by a Portuguese cargo ship carrying macaque monkeys for medical experiments to Dubai in the Arab Emirates.

There, the corn was loaded onto an Arab dhao which brought it up the Gulf to the British occupied river port of Basrah in Iraq. Along with sensitive military plans, the corn was then transferred via convoy to Nasiryah where it was placed in the hold of a troop transport that was loaded aboard a C-130 headed for Berlin.

Over Austria, the C-130 jettisoned the troop transport. The otherwise empty transport landed on top of a mountain, bounced several times and burst into flames, but the corn was ejected and slid down the side of the mountain until it fell into a tributary of the River Danube.

The corn remained in the icy waters of the Danube floating just below the surface until emerging in the Black Sea near a Russian resort town.

There, one Mister Andropov recovered the corn and packed it in his suitcase for his trip to America as an emissary of Vladimir Putin's to the Bush White House.

In D.C., the corn was confiscated by Selma Murphy of the Trasportation Security Authority. Rather than destroy the corn as TSA policy requires, she sold it to an unscrupulous Bosnian travelling salesman.

Along the route the Bosnian salesan takes every year is a stop in Chicago at the multi-ethnic Fruteria here I buy my vegetables.

Along with a plethora of Bosnian labelled jams and jellies and smoked eggplant/pepper preserves, the salesman gave the corn to the owner of the Fruteria, in exchange for a promise that the owner's youngest and most beautiful teenage daughter, Miranda, would be his to wed when she turned 21.

I then bought the corn from the Fruteria for about 35 cents an ear, with little to no thought about where it came from. It was yummy.

I'm kind of guessing about where it came from, though. No idea.

Posted by barrett on May 16, 2006 at 2:25 PM

Hmph. Can I just say HMPH?

(have you considered cutting out the caffeine??)

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 16, 2006 at 2:28 PM

I must say...I just happened upon this blog (via Slashfood if I remember correctly) and am tickled to death by it. You have yourselves a dedicated new reader. And I can't wait to try this recipe!

Posted by Heather on May 16, 2006 at 4:01 PM

The picture is enough to make me want to try this and the recipe makes it sound great! But, the story about where the corn came from...I'll be back. Thanks

Posted by Tanna on May 17, 2006 at 4:40 AM

hey i live by albany park, and i am addicted to elotes!!

Might I add that ELOTES are best with "parkay squeezeable butter" which is what the vendors use, and you left out the mayonaise.
but i have tried it with and without the mayo. It does taste creamier, but if you'd like to save yourself the cholesterol, it's fine without mayo,too.


gl with your recipes!
hey i live by albany park, and i am addicted to elotes!!

Might I add that ELOTES are best with "parkay squeezeable butter" which is what the vendors use, and you left out the mayonaise.
but i have tried it with and without the mayo. It does taste creamier, but if you'd like to save yourself the cholesterol, it's fine without mayo,too.


gl with your recipes!
hey i live by albany park, and i am addicted to elotes!!

Might I add that ELOTES are best with "parkay squeezeable butter" which is what the vendors use, and you left out the mayonaise.
but i have tried it with and without the mayo. It does taste creamier, but if you'd like to save yourself the cholesterol, it's fine without mayo,too.


gl with your recipes!
hey i live by albany park, and i am addicted to elotes!!

Might I add that ELOTES are best with "parkay squeezeable butter" which is what the vendors use, and you left out the mayonaise.
but i have tried it with and without the mayo. It does taste creamier, but if you'd like to save yourself the cholesterol, it's fine without mayo,too.


gl with your recipes!

Posted by holz on September 17, 2006 at 2:36 PM

well..that's odd. server told me my post wouldn't go through.

Posted by holz on September 17, 2006 at 2:56 PM