One of the most interesting things I ate last year was the Esquites at Californios. It consists of some butter poached lobster and corn kernels sprinkled with mexican spices and then covered with a warm corn mousse on top. I loved the flavour profile of the dish with the contrasts between the sweet mousse and the spiced corn/lobster at the bottom. Nithya and I liked it so much that we decided to make our own version below.
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
- 1 cups Corn (for cream)
- 2 cups Half and Half
- 1/2 cup Corn (for roasting)
- 200g Chorizo
- 1-2 limes
- Chilli powder to taste
- Salt to taste
- Whipping Siphon
- We will start by making the corn cream. Add the corn and the half and half to a pan and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Let it simmer for 10-15 min and add a pinch of salt to taste. Be light with the salt as we still want the corm cream to taste sweet and not feel too salty
- Put the mixture in a blender and blend at high speed until it is a smooth mixture
- Run the mixture through a sieve. Make sure this is a fine sieve that will not allow the kernel pieces to go through as they could block the nozzle of the whipping siphon. If you make the corm cream in advance you can leave it in the fridge for a day or two and warm it up just before service.
- Melt some butter in a pan and roast the corn kernels until they get tender and start browning. Add salt and chilli powder to taste and reserve the corn until serving.
- Now use same pan to cook the chorizo. I like to add salt and chilli powder right at the beginning so that the chorizo mixes well with the spices during cooking. When the chorizo is close to done, squeeze the juice of an entire lime into the the pan and mix it into the chorizo. Reserve the chorizo for serving.
Assembly and service
One of my favourite parts of this dish is that it is well suited to be prepared in advance and can be assembled in minutes for service
- Heat the corm cream if necessary and fill it in the whipping siphon. If you are not serving immediately you can keep the filled siphon in a warm bath (60C+) to maintain temperature. The warmth is very important as cold corn foam will ruin the dish.
- I recommend using a flat bottomed ramekin as your serving dish but a small bowl can also be used in a pinch.
- Add a few chunks of cooked chorizo and some corn kernels to the bottom of your dish and then squeeze in a little lime juice over the mixture.
- Charge the whipping siphon with Nitrogen (do NOT charge with CO2 as that will affect the taste) and shake it a few times to get the foam going. Test that you are getting a foam before moving to the next step
- Place the dispensing nozzle inside the serving dish such that it is almost touching the bottom and GENTLY dispense the foam into the dish. Ideally the chorizo and lime mixture will not be disturbed and you will be able to fill the dish with foam such that the ingredients at the bottom are not visible.
When serving the dish I suggest that people first try the foam at the top and then dig to the bottom of the dish for subsequent spoonfuls. That way they can try the sweetness of the foam first and then will get random amounts of chorizo, corm and lime mixed with it on future spoons. I do not suggest mixing the entire foam as that kind of ruins the surprise.
This dish does require some prep work and equipment but most of it can be done beforehand and I think its a great way to level up a meal and serve something that folks are not expecting. I really love the mixture of chorizo with lime and corn and the whole mixture is very different from the californios dish but instead reminds of eating chilli lime roasted corn at Marina beach in Chennai.