Esquites

EsquitesWhen Local Community Food Centre director, Steve Stacey, asked us to contribute a dish to a special fund-raiser in which we were to represent the farmer’s markets, one of nine chapters in his history of food in Stratford, we put some fine dining shine on our version of elotes, the Mexican street corn we serve from the Wicked Pickle during corn season. The dish features the products and produce of many of the market vendors with whom I share street space most Sunday mornings in Stratford’s Marketplace Square. We used a blend of Monforte‘s water buffalo feta and queso fresco in place of the traditional cotijas to add richness and saltiness to the sauce. Where we have used Japanese panko in the past for crunchy texture, we used thinly shaved and oven-dried pieces of white bread from Downie Street Bake House. My request for the all-important cilantro on Sunday morning, however, delivered some temporary disappointment when Soiled Reputation‘s Antony John informed me that what I was looking for remained in his farm field! After plotting the coordinates of the prized herb I set off to the farm to harvest it myself.  And as a final event of serendipity I came across the edible flowers that really take this dish to the next level. It pays to know your farmer, people. Go to your local farmer’s market. This types of shit doesn’t happen at the Loblaws.

  • 4 ears of Herlle’s sweet corn, shucked
  • 1/4 cup mayo, preferably homemade
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup of Monforte water buffalo feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup of Monforte water buffalo queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp ancho or guajillo chili powder
  • 4 shavings of crustless, oven-dried white bread from Downie Street Bake House
  • 1/4 cup cilantro-miso compound butter (recipe below)
  • 4 pinches of Mexican Chili Dust (recipe below)
  • Andrew Mavor’s homemade fermented hot sauce (buy his soon-to-be-released ebook for recipe)
  • Edible flowers from Soiled Reputation
  • Lime wedges
  1. Prepare a charcoal or set a gas-fired grill for high heat.
  2. Lightly brush each ear of corn with the cilantro-miso butter and wrap individually in aluminum foil.
  3. When grill is hot, place corn directly over hot side of grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through, tender, and lightly charred, about 20 minutes total. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, chili powder, and garlic in a large bowl. Stir until homogenous and set aside.
  5. Unwrap and let cool for 5 minutes. Carve the corn off the cob with a sharp knife.  Transfer corn to the bowl with cheese mixture and use a large spoon to evenly coat on all sides.
  6. Assemble by sprinkling a plate or shallow bowl with Mexican chili dust followed by a heaping spoonful of corn mixture. Next, artfully place bread shavings and edible flowers. Finish with a few drops of hot sauce.

Cilantro-Miso Compound Butter

  • 1 lb butter
  • 1 cup Soiled Reputation cilantro leaves
  • 2 tbsp white miso
Stick all of it in a good food processor and blitz until thoroughly chopped and mixed.

Mexican Chili Dust

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ancho or Mexican chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp hot dry mustard