Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Mexican Corn Cakes Breakfast

So there I was with a yearning for Huevos Motulenos for breakfast, but I had no tortillas, no ham, no plantains and no peas. What to do? I scanned my pantry for ingredients and placed the following on my counter: Frozen corn kernels, chorizo, yellow cornmeal, flour, eggs, salsa ranchera, canejo cheese (an aged version of queso fresco) and assorted fresh veggies. "Yeah," I thought, "I can make something with that."

Sometimes you just have to be a bit nimble in the kitchen, ready to substitute this for that when you've come up short on ingredients for any given recipe. So I decided that instead of tortillas I'd make some Mexican-flavored corn cakes; I could live without fried plantains entirely; instead of ham I'd cook some chorizo; instead of peas, well, there was corn. And then I decided to put the chorizo IN the corn cakes to see how that would work out.

I'm here to report it worked out just fine! So without further ado I present an improvised breakfast or brunch recipe that actually didn't suck. Not exactly huevos motulenos, but DH thinks I can forego motulenos in the future and just stick to this new recipe, please. What to call it? I dunno. I just call it a Mexican Corn Cakes Breakfast. You can call it whatever you like!

Yield: About ten 4-inch cakes

  • About 1/2 Cup Mexican chorizo
  • 1/2 Cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 Cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp olive or canola oil, divided
  • 8 oz. frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions, including some of the green tops
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced very small
  • 1 jalapeno chile, minced (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp. minced cilantro (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a large skillet, cook chorizo over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until crumbly and thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat, drain chorizo, then stir in the corn; set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and yolk together with milk and 2 Tbsp oil until well mixed. Add the onions, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, and cilantro; stir well. Stir in sausage-corn mixture. Fold in cornmeal mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Heat a heavy skillet to medium high heat with a little bit of vegetable oil. (Skillet is ready when small drops of water sizzle and disappear almost immediately.) Spoon about two tablespoons of batter into the pan and smooth out a little to form a round patty about 4 inches in diameter.

Cook 2-1/2 to 3 minutes on first side (till edges begin to brown); turn and cook 2 minutes more, or until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and keep warm until all cakes are cooked. Add a little more oil to pan when necessary for cooking each batch.

Place 3 or 4 cakes on each plate and top with a couple of eggs, prepared however you like them best. I like mine sunny side up or over easy, but I bet poached or even scrambled would also be good. Top the eggs with Salsa Ranchera (or your favorite salsa) and crumble some good cheese over the top. Serve hot.

You could also serve these corn cakes as a side for grilled meats, topped with a dollop of sour cream or crema Mexicana. And I dropped a couple of leftover cakes into the toaster later in the day, then slathered them with butter and that was pretty good, too!

Buen Provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)


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