By Chris Cockren
Talk about a match made in heaven. This recipe just might combine three of my favorite things. First of all, my favorite type of eating involves grazing. A little of this, a little of that.
Small plates. Appetizers. Tapas.
Whatever you call them, I love it. Variety in eating and passing around all sorts of tapas with friends is where it’s at.
And let’s talk about my love of corn. Hashtag obsessed. I will literally eat it any chance I get. Southwest style. In wontons. In hot soup. Or cold soup. With basil in a side salad. And heck, even in ice cream with caramel-candied bacon. Yea, it’s that kinda love.
Finally, what’s better on a warm summer day than hanging out with friends with a bunch of tapas and a cold bottle of rosé wine? No seriously, tell me. What’s better? I want to know.
For me, summertime is all about rosé. Excuse me, rosado. I forgot that we’re talking about tapas today. It’s all about authenticity, people.
So rosados… They are crisp, light, and totally refreshing. And with all the heat going on lately here in New York, crisp, light, and refreshing sounds pretty darn good.Rioja Wines come from the La Rioja region in North Central Spain. They are extremely food-friendly and can pair with everything from fish and meat to veggies and cheese. Perfect for a tapas-style party, when you want to serve all different types of food. I easily found a nice selection of Rioja reds, whites, and rosés in my local wine shop. You’ll know it’s a true deal Rioja Wine by it’s official seal on the bottle. And best part? Rioja wines are a great value for everyday occasions. Most are priced right around $15!
And these croquettes. I think I’m in love. Obviously because they involve corn, but it’s so much more than that. I’m a big fan of elotes, or mexican street corn. The corn is charred on the grill. It’s cheesy and creamy. And it packs a flavor punch that does an instant flavor party in my mouth.
Just a little warning. These croquettes are mighty fragile. It’s really important to freeze them right before frying so that way they don’t completely fall apart while cooking. And when ready to fry, gently lower the fritters in the oil and don’t try wiggling them around… they don’t like that and will crumble. After turning golden brown and crispy, quickly and carefully transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and as they cool, the fritters will set up nicely for you. And then you can devour like crazy.
- 6 ears corn, husks and silk removed
- Canola oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup finely grated cotija cheese
- 2 eggs, slighten beaten
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Chili-Lime Crema (recipe below)
- Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
- Cotija cheese, grated, for garnish
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- ½ - 1 tablespoon sambal chili sauce
- ½ lime, juiced
- Pinch Kosher salt
- Pinch sugar
- Pinch garlic powder
- Preheat your grill to high. Very lightly brush corn with canola oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt. When grill is hot, place corn directly on grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots, about 10-12 minutes (or longer depending upon how hot your grill is). Remove corn from grill and let cool. Cut kernels off cob and reserve. Discard cobs.
- Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium/medium-low heat. Once fully melted, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute (just long enough for the raw flour taste to cook off).
- While stirring constantly, slowly add in milk to incorporate. Continue to stir until no lumps remain. Raise heat to medium and cook until mixture thickens and easily coats the back of a spoon, about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in corn kernels, ? cup cotija cheese, and the slightly beaten egg. The residual heat will gently cook the egg. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Let cool completely, then place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour up to overnight.
- When ready to cook, remove corn mixture from fridge. Pour panko into a small bowl and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Shape corn mixture into heaping tablespoon sized balls and coat completely in the panko breadcrumbs. Place on a wax-paper lined baking tray.
- Freeze croquettes for about 1 hour to allow them to solidify before frying.
- Heat enough canola oil in a small saucepan or frypan over medium heat (or use a deep fryer) to completely cover the croquettes. Once hot (you'll know it's hot enough when the panko starts sizzling once it hits the oil), gently lower croquettes, a couple at a time, into the oil and fry until golden brown and crispy on all sides, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Carefully and gently remove croquettes with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to briefly drain and cool, sprinkle with Kosher salt, and serve immediately with Chili-Lime Crema and garnished with cilantro and cotija cheese.
- In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, ½ tablespoon sambal chili sauce, lime juice, salt, sugar, and garlic powder. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired, adding in more sambal chili sauce if you want it spicier.