Sweet corn season is just starting and, if you're anything like me, you can already hear the clock ticking. Like many Minnesota warm-weather events, corn season feels like it takes forever to arrive, and it's gone in a flash.
So while that clock ticks, I make an effort to include corn in as many meals, and in as many forms, as possible.
Usually it's on the cob, often elote-style: grilled or roasted, slathered in creamy mayo, coated in salty cheese and liberally seasoned with hot chile powder. With a squeeze of fresh lime juice, this iconic Mexican street food is hands down one of the most delicious ways to enjoy the best of summer's bounty.
A dish with so many bold flavors can be overwhelming, yet here they are all perfectly balanced, whether or not the corn is on the cob. So it's no surprise to see them come together beautifully inside a warm tortilla, as they do in this week's Grilled Chicken and Elote Tacos.
A delicious weeknight dish, these tacos do have a few steps, but they're all quick and easy and well worth doing, even on a Tuesday.
Ears of corn and a poblano chile are charred on a hot grill. The kernels are cut off the cob and the chile is peeled and chopped. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are briefly marinated, grilled and sliced. A simple sauce is made of mayonnaise, sour cream, chile powder and lime juice.
All of these elements, tucked into a tortilla along with crumbled Cotija cheese and cilantro — with lime wedges on the side — form an incredibly tasty taco, one that will be in the rotation in my quest to eat my weight in corn while the season lasts.
Grilled Chicken and Elote Tacos
Combined with grilled chicken and tucked into a warm tortilla, the smoky, salty, spicy flavors of the iconic Mexican street corn elote turn an ordinary taco into what might be the best bite of the summer. From Meredith Deeds.
• 1/4 c. mayonnaise
• 1/4 c. sour cream or Mexican crema
• 2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
• 1/2 tsp. ancho or chipotle chile powder
• 3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
• 3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lime juice, divided
• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
• 1 tsp. salt, divided
• 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 3 medium ears corn, shucked
• 1 poblano chile
• 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
• 12 corn tortillas, warmed
• Cotija cheese, crumbled
• Chopped cilantro, for serving
• Lime wedges, for serving
In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, finely chopped cilantro, chile powder, 1 clove chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Whisk together 2 tablespoons lime juice, oil, remaining chopped garlic, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Let sit for 20 minutes.
Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Place the corn and poblano on the grill and char all over, 10 to 15 minutes. Place the poblano in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 5 minutes. Transfer corn to a cutting board and set aside until cool enough to handle.
When the pepper is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Remove stems and seeds and chop pepper and transfer to a bowl.
Working over a large bowl, slice the corn kernels off each cob and combine with the poblano pepper, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
Grill chicken until cooked through and lightly charred, about 4 minutes per side.
Let chicken rest 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with tortillas, corn mixture, mayo mixture, Cotija, cilantro leaves and lime wedges.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Instagram at @meredithdeeds.