Grilled corn, adorned with butter and coarse salt, is the perfect food. Sweet, salty and buttery, it’s everything I love, all rolled into one cylindrical slice of heaven. Yet, since I apparently can’t leave perfection alone, I often eat it Mexican-style, slathered in mayo and dusted in grated Cotija, an aged, dry cheese, which tastes like a combination of Parmesan and feta, with a finishing spritz of fresh lime juice. In Mexico, this is an iconic street food called elote.
Although I’ve been giving my grilled corn this south-of-the border treatment for several years, this year I’ve been making it in the form of a salad, meaning I’ve been cutting the kernels off the cob before charring them in a saucepan and mixing them with the traditional condiments. Sometimes I’ll add diced red bell pepper or tomato, and I always toss in a minced jalapeño and a handful of chopped cilantro.
After several weeks of eating corn in a variety of ways, I’m inspired to try something new. Well, sort of new. These Smoky Chicken and Corn Elote Tostadas take all the things I love about elote and combine them with all the things I love about tostadas.
Crispy corn tortillas are topped with an avocado crema, made from mashed avocados mixed with sour cream. Shredded chicken, sautéed with garlic and chipotle chile (smoked jalapeños) is the next topping, followed by the star of the show, corn, in this case sautéed until dark brown spots develop on the kernels, before being mixed with mayo and lime juice. The whole tostada is then garnished with Cotija cheese and chopped cilantro.
The result is a crunchy, smoky, creamy, sweet kind of wonderful, a fitting end to another delightful Minnesota corn season.
Smoky Chicken and Corn Elote Tostadas
Note: Elote, or corn on the cob, is a popular street food in Mexico, and is often served with condiments such as Cotija cheese, lime juice and mayonnaise. For these tostadas, the kernels are cut off the cob, charred in a skillet, mixed with some of the traditional accompaniments and added on top of chipotle-infused chicken and avocado crema. To bake your own tostada shells: Arrange eight (6-inch) corn tortillas on baking sheets in a single layer. Brush lightly on both sides with vegetable oil. Bake at 400 degrees, flipping once, until golden and crisp on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes.
• 4 tsp. vegetable oil, divided
• 2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 1/2 c. shredded cooked chicken
• 1 chipotle from can of chipotles in adobo sauce, minced
• 1 tbsp., plus 2 tsp. fresh lime juice, divided
• 1 tsp. salt, divided
• 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
• 1/2 medium avocado
• 1/3 c. sour cream
• 1 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
• 8 tostada shells*
• 1/2 c. crumbled Cotija or feta cheese
• Lime wedges, for serving, optional
In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring, until the corn is browned in spots, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from skillet. Set aside to cool.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add chicken and continue to cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the chipotle, 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, combine the cooled corn, mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
In a medium bowl, mash the avocado with a fork. Mix in the sour cream, 1 tablespoon cilantro, 1 teaspoon lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread evenly onto the tostada shells. Top with the chicken, corn, cheese and cilantro. Serve with the lime wedges on the side.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 530 Fat 32 g Sodium 1,130 mg
Carbohydrates 39 g Saturated fat 9 g Total sugars 5 g
Protein 25 g Cholesterol 75 mg Dietary fiber 6 g
Exchanges per serving: 2 ½ starch, 2 ½ medium-fat protein, 3 ½ fat.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at