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The Dish: Chef Jose Garces's Esquites

The Dish: Chef Jose Garces's Esquites for Cinco de Mayo

The Dish: Chef Jose Garces's Esquites for Cinco de Mayo

Prepare for Cinco de Mayo with this Iron Chef's recipe of a traditional Mexican corn dish

One of our favorite Palm Springs cantinas, El Jefe, located in the Saguaro Hotel and helmed by James Beard Award-winning Iron Chef Jose Garces, will, of course, be celebrating next week's Cinco de Mayo in style with $2 and $3 tacos, a “make your own margarita” bar and a live Latin band from 7 to 10 p.m. To get the fiesta started early, though, Chef Garces was gracious enough to share his recipe for esquites, a traditional Mexican corn dish that he says pairs “great with tacos.” 

We’ll drink a shot of tequila to that. Salud!




El Jefe - Esquites
Serves 8


1 medium onion, small dice
8 cups corn kernels off the cobb
4 cups corn stock (recipe follows)
4 oz. Butter
Epazote, a fresh Mexican herb *

Lime Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
Queso Fresco *
Chili Piquin * 

* can all be found in any of the Mexican/Latin markets

Sweat diced onions in butter.  Add corn kernels and cook until soft (About 15 minutes).  Add corn stock and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, leaving some liquid.  Season with salt to taste. Fold in epazote.  Serve warm in large bowl.  Top with a light layer of Lime Mayonnaise, crumbled Queso Fresco and a gentle shake of Chile Piquin.

Corn Stock
6 corn cobs, kernels removed
1 medium onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbs olive oil
4 quarts water
Salt to taste 

Gently sweat onions and garlic in olive oil until very soft. Add corn cobs and water and cook until stock is very fragrant and flavorful, about one hour. Strain to remove cobs and onion and season to taste with salt.

Lime Mayonnaise
1 cup prepared mayonnaise
1/8 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
Salt to taste

Combine mayonnaise and lime juice in a small bowl and mix well. Season to taste with salt.

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