Thursday, September 22, 2011

Charred Corn Tacos

Charred Corn Tacos

As a last gasp of summer, before turning to root vegetables and heartier dishes, I made these charred corn tacos from Smitten Kitchen. Smitten Kitchen is one of the most popular food blogs on the planet, but sometimes I've seen "real" cookbook writers grumble a bit that she's gotten so famous not (often) writing her own recipes. As someone who writes about food and also doesn't write recipes, perhaps I take such criticisms more personally than I should, but I can't help but point out that such criticisms really miss the point of her appeal: the lady has really good taste. Beyond the snappy writing and beautiful photos, it seems any dish you pick from her is a guaranteed winner, and her narrative and instructions seem to be prescient in anticipating mistakes... much better than many of the celebrated cooks and cookbook authors we've had some trouble with in recent months (Ottolenghi I'm looking at you). Anyway, looking forward to her cookbook... but on to the cooking results:

Squash and Radish Slaw

The City Hall Farmers' Market had corn, radishes, and squash in abundance... so ignoring limes, cilantro and the like, it was a relatively locally sourced meal. I'd love to claim that the knife work you see in the radish-yellow squash slaw above was my own, but I really have to credit the mandoline/v-slicer on this one. I enjoy julienning a carrot or two, but a half pound of radishes plus a squash enters into tedium... and there is just no way I could approach that kind of regularity in a 1/8 x 1/8 inch cut (though I suppose practice makes perfect). A mandoline is not something I think anyone needs, but if you have one you'll use it quite a bit. If you get one I'd recommend a cut resistant glove to save fingers.

The one thing I was a little dubious about when executing the recipe was that she calls for an entire medium white onion... which seemed like a whole lotta onion... but if you look at her picture that is indeed what she wants. Despite my skepticism, it really did work out well as they cooked down and paired nicely with the sweetness of the corn.

Charred Corn

One tip I have for charring corn portion of the recipe: do not remove the stalks. If you just remove the husk and silk, you'll leave yourself a nice little handle so you can char the corn quite easily. While you can put it directly over the burner, that is a) a little gross depending on when you last cleaned it b) fairly inefficient since the flame comes out of the sides of the burner.

Anyway, a really good vegetarian recipe that can easily be made vegan by omitting the cheese.